As a rule, the vast majority of Americans today rely on computers, smartphones, and the internet more than at any other point in history.
Whether for banking, shopping, or carrying on private conversations, most of us have outsourced huge, and important, parts of our lives into the digital world.
At the same time, it’s important to recognize that we live in an era where scammers and fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated than ever – which means that all of the sensitive data that we put online is more exposed and vulnerable to attack than most of us would care to admit.
For that reason, it’s important to keep on top of the many scams circulating around at any given moment, threatening to fleece consumers out of their hard-earned money – and their most carefully guarded information.
The FTC’s Consumer Information blog recently pointed us in the direction of just such a scam. We’ll let Consumer Education Specialist Andrew Johnson describe it:
“Scammers pretending to be with the FTC or with FTC refund administrators are calling, asking for remote access to your computer… Their goal is to make you think you are moments away from getting money that’s owed to you – and, to get the money, all you need to do is allow them to connect to your computer. It’s a scam.”
As Johnson points out, the FTC and its administrators will never request remote access to your device, or ask consumers to pay upfront in order to receive a refund.
While the specifics may vary, this is a permutation of a common type of scam, which Johnson refers to as the “tech support” scam.
Though it comes “in many forms,” the essence of this scam is that a caller reaches out to you, requesting that you grant them remote access to your computer for some purpose. Once they have access to your system, the FTC notes, these scammers may take one of any number of actions, including installing malware on your computer, selling you useless software, or gaining access to your credit card number or other personal information.
As always, the FTC reminds consumers to be vigilant. If you receive a call that seems suspicious or untrustworthy, the FTC advises that you “hang up immediately,” report the incident, and then “spread the word,” since “it may help someone close to you avoid a scam.”
For more information on this particular scam, we encourage you to peruse the FTC’s full blog post, available here. For the FTC’s insight on the types of scams that typically target timeshare consumers, you may wish to read our article on the matter, available here.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.