Support Scams: After the Scam

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

scams and security breaches

We are often contacted and asked to clean a computer of viruses after a remote support scam.  But in these situations, whilst viruses can be a factor, they are rarely the concern. 

After a remote support scam, the priority is closing any backdoors into your system. And making sure that you take immediate steps to secure your accounts.

First Instincts

Immediately following a remote support scam, it is all about damage limitation. In the first instance, take the compromised device offline, then notify your bank / financial institution(s) immediately so that they can lockdown your accounts, then book a system clean with your local IT Technicians.

Once a scammer has gained access to a device, they can: install a backdoor allowing them unfettered access to your computer, steal your passwords, lock down your device preventing access, and gain access to your bank and other online accounts. They can also gain access to your contacts via your address book and social media accounts (which can net them a whole new potential client list).

technical support scams

Checklist for the Scammed

  • Turn off the compromised device
  • Notify your financial institutions(s)
  • Book a system clean with Excalibur IT (or your local technician if you’re not in our service area)
  • Notify your friends / close contacts that your account may have been compromised
  • Using a clean, uncompromised device, set about changing all of your online passwords – prioritising your financial institutions / email / social media accounts.
  • Ensure all your new passwords are complex, different, and not based on previous passwords
  • Setup Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA) where available as an additional safeguard
  • Good Internet Security can help steer you away from online scams – so talk to us about your security

Clean and Secure

To clean and secure your system after a remote support scam – we first take your computer offline and backup your data, then we wipe and re-prep your machine.  Yes, it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut solution, but when a system has been compromised it is the only way to be really sure.

A virus scan and a quick review of programs is not enough. If you have been scammed, find out how we can help

Keep Strong and Carry On

When it comes to remote support, or any other type of scams, complacency is the enemy.

Most people believe they are too smart, or switched on, to fall for a scam – and that it will never happen to them. But you would be surprised how many very smart people fall foul of these scams.

When you have been scammed it is natural to feel angry / scared / mortified / embarrassed. And people often fall into the trap of negative self-talk which makes you feel worse, and only serves to paralyse you and prevent you taking the swift action required to minimise the damage.

Now is the time when you need to keep your head in the game, and stay focussed on what needs to be done. Take a look at our checklist for the scammed opposite for some tips to keep you on track.

Why do Scammers do this?

Scammers exist because quite simply scams work.  According to the ACCC In 2021 scams robbed Australians in excess of $2bn. It is big business and they are indiscriminate. They are in this for the money, nothing more and nothing less.

Scammers may be the scum of the earth, and have made some very dubious life / career choices. But they are generally very good at what they do.  They use social engineering to bamboozle and disarm people, whilst laying the trap for their nefarious activities.

Dubious Honour of being a remote support scam victim

If you have been the victim of a remote support scam, you will need to be ever more vigilant. As people who have been scammed often become the targets for other scams/scammers.

There may be a list of people susceptible to scams floating around the dark web, or the same scammers are just re-targeting people under another umbrella – we do not know. What we do know is that it has never been more important to get serious about cyber-security, and educate yourself about scams / scammers. At minimum we recommend that you have decent Internet Security that can help guide you away from dubious sites. It is also wise to subscribe to the ACCC SCAMWATCH and be aware of current scams.

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