The FBI is warning of a rise in tech support scams targeting seniors across the United States and urging victims to ship money concealed in magazines or similar items through shipping companies.

While tech support scams I’ve been around for yearsthe FBI says this is a departure from conventional scammers’ tactics of soliciting their targets to send money through wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, or gift cards.

“The FBI is warning the public of a recent nationwide increase in tech support scams targeting seniors, where scammers ask victims to send cash, packaged in one or more magazines, via shipping companies,” the FBI said. warned in a public service announcement broadcast by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Tech support scammers target seniors through deceptive phone calls, text messages, emails, and pop-ups while posing as legitimate company representatives.

They warn their targets of fraudulent activity related to their accounts or promise subscription refunds. Victims are then given designated contact numbers for assistance, with the scammers requesting access to victims’ computers to deposit funds into their bank accounts after they call.

Victims are tricked into downloading remote access software that allows crooks to take control of their computers. Then they convince them to log into their bank accounts so the scammers deliberately deposit a larger sum than expected, asking them to send the extra money back so the scammer doesn’t lose their job.

Victims are instructed to send the excess money via shipping companies concealed in magazines or similar items to fulfill the crooks’ demands.

“More recently, scammers instructed victims to ship packages containing cash to pharmacies and retail outlets equipped to receive packages from shipping companies,” the FBI added.

How to protect yourself from scammers

The FBI advises seniors targeted by such scams to follow these tips to avoid being tricked:

  • Never download software at the request of a stranger who has contacted you.
  • Never let an unknown person who has contacted you take control of your computer.
  • Do not click on unsolicited pop-ups, text links, email links, or attachments. Do not contact the phone number in a pop-up, SMS or email.
  • Never send cash by post or by shipping companies.

Those who have fallen victim to this tech support scam are advised to report it as soon as possible by file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The complaint must include the name of the person or company who contacted them, the method of communication used, and the name and address of the recipient where the money was sent.

In November, the law enforcement agency also warned that tech support scammers were impersonating financial institutions refund payment portals and deceive the victims (usually from the elderly population) by taking advantage of the additional legitimacy.


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