Officer Assists Local Resident with Phone Scam
South Lebanon Township Police Department, in Pennsylvania, was able to help a local resident avoid becoming the next victim of a support scam. The resident originally contacted the police department, afraid he was the victim of a ransomware attack. When the police department arrived, the individual had allowed “tech support” to take full control of their computer.
The “support representative” named “Jerry”, claimed he deposited $2,200 in the victim’s PayPal account, and needed $1,900 in return to “fix” their system. When the officer got on the phone, “Jerry” disconnected the call within minutes.
According to Lebanon Daily News, “Jerry” had a strong middle eastern accent. Luckily, the resident did not lose any funds. However, they were encouraged to have their PC checked out for malware. They were also advised to contact the Credit Bureau in case personal information was accessed while the hacker had control of the computer.
Ransomware Attack or Support Scam?
Although the resident was afraid the attack was ransomware, it was not. Their files were not locked. It wasn’t until after the person contacted a fraudulent tech support number, that payment demands were made. This is another version of support scams that continue to pop up worldwide. A ransomware attack will lock your files. This is then followed up with a screen that demands a payment and includes a message stating your files have been encrypted. Typically, a phone number is not associated with ransomware attacks, but if they do provide a phone number it goes to their “customer support” line. They do not state they deposited money into any of your accounts. Instead, they will simply assist with converting currencies to the payment method they require.
Although the type of attack may not be pertinent, it is important PC users know how each malware or phone scam may present. Knowing the difference between a virus, ransomware attack and tech support scam will help with remediation efforts.