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Scammers take control of my device remotely (Remote Access Scam)

How to recognise this type of scam?

To solve technical problems, IT professionals use software that connects remotely to the computers of their customers or employees. To do this, they use Remote Desktop Software, such as AnyDesk or TeamViewer. Unfortunately, hackers and fraudsters also use this software to connect to their victims' computers. This type of hacking or scam is called Remote Access Scam. How does it work?

  1. Scammers approach you under some pretext.
    • They claim that you have a security problem, that they are receiving error messages from your computer or that your computer is infected with a computer virus. Read more about Microsoft Scam.
    • The scammers may come up with another story: you have been allegedly duped and they will help you get your money back; you have an opportunity to make a good investment or you are summoned to court.
    • Or you receive a virus alert on your computer and are asked to contact a (often foreign or chargeable) telephone number.
  2. They then ask you to download a program with which they can help you. You receive instructions on how to install the program and how to perform certain actions. These are programs that you give permission to observe and perform actions on your device.
  3. The fraudster now has full control over your device. This allows them to manage your online bank account, install viruses or steal or change your passwords and other data. This way, the hacker can even return to your device at a later date.
  4. Sometimes, at the end of the intervention, you have to pay a fee for the service rendered. Sometimes you may even have to pay for the call because of a premium rate number.
How to avoid becoming a victim of Remote Access Scam?
  1. Never give a stranger access to your devices

Never download programs that allow someone to "look into" your device unless you trust that person (your family or your employer's IT department or supplier) and you are absolutely certain that it is that person and not someone posing as someone you know.

  1. Never trust unsolicited online assistance for a problem you have not noticed yourself.

Always be on your guard if a stranger wants to help you unexpectedly and asks you to download programs and perform certain actions. Microsoft, Apple, the police, the government or your bank will never contact you unsolicited and ask you to install remote control software such as TeamViewer or Anydesk.

  1. Do not respond to security messages that appear on your computer asking you to call a number for help or support.

If a security message appears on your device, you should only react to it if you are sure it is from your own antivirus.  An unexpected message or pop-up asking you to use a phone number is very suspicious.

What should you do when you have installed such a program?
What should you do if the scammer has accessed your online bank account?
What else can you do if you are contacted by an unknown number?
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