Old Scam, New Tricks for 2023

There’s a good chance you will have already heard about a version of the notorious ‘tech support’ scam as they have been around for a while. But, during recent months, we have noticed there has been a resurgence of the scam and it is becoming increasingly common. Worryingly, scammers are constantly evolving the scheme which can make it hard to identify. There are many versions of this scam to look out for and it could be in the form of texts, robocalls, emails or computer alerts. We have broken down the top three tech support scams to be aware of.

  1. Remote Access

One way a scammer can gain control of a computer is through remote access. This allows them to control a device without physically sitting in front of it (scary, right?).

It often works by a scammer calling you, claiming that you requested a computer diagnosis and asking for remote access. They will often claim there is an issue when there isn’t one. The fraudster will then appear to fix the ‘problem’, but they are actually doing nothing. For example, they might just change a meaningless setting.

After they appear to fix the issue, this is when the real problem starts as they will then demand payment. The fee may be in the form of a wire transfer, gift card, or possibly cryptocurrency. It is also a possibility that they may use the computer to grab personal information or install ransomware.

Always remember that a legitimate customer support agent would never call a customer first, so it is a huge red flag for this to happen.

  1. Pop Ups

Another scam to be aware of is fake viruses popping up while you’re using your computer. This can be frightening, as they are unexpected and usually provide almost no information about the problem.

The pop up will likely provide a phone number to call but do not call that number. The best option is to update your computer’s security software and run a scan to detect any legitimate problems. You can also contact the manufacturer’s tech support directly.

  1. Spoofing

Some criminals may pose as legitimate companies, such as Amazon or Microsoft, to appear more believable. They may even go so far as to spoof the actual tech support lines of these companies.

Spoofing allows them to display the tech support number as the caller ID, which disguises the real caller.  It is important to know that tech support agents will not reach out to you unless you’ve submitted an inquiry, since they have no knowledge of issues on your device without notification.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, you can report it to your local police, state Attorney General’s office and the FTC. Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are also a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls.

Call Guardian is a registered trademark of Transaction Network Services, Inc.

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Unwanted Calls Nationwide Snapshot

 

TNS estimates that more than 70.0 billion unwanted  calls were made in the last 12 months representing an 11% decrease over the last 12 months versus the previous 12 months.  Unwanted calls decreased 27% from November to December at 4.7B.  This represents an 17% decrease from December 2021 to December 2022.

Unwanted calls are comprised of nuisance calls and high-risk calls. The severity of harm of nuisance calls are moderate. The severity of harm for high-risk calls is deemed as a major invasion of privacy that can cause emotional distress.

 

TNS Heatmap of Originating Unwanted Calls

Top 10 Area Codes for Generating Unwanted Calls – Dec 2022

Top 10 Area Codes for Generating Unwanted Calls – Nov 2022

Top 10 Area Codes for Generating Unwanted Calls – Nov 2021

Rank

NPA

Area

Total

1

805

CA

9,758,520

2

480

AZ

6,751,256

3

520

AZ

6,431,791

4

202

DC

6,242,463

5

602

AZ

5,843,866

6

470

GA

5,451,075

7

720

CO

5,052,408

8

402

NE

4,997,224

9

213

CA

4,882,793

10

910

NC

4,774,853

Rank

NPA

Area

Total

1

586

MI

10,740,941

2

520

AZ

8,941,584

3

805

CA

8,891,712

4

480

AZ

8,773,867

5

209

CA

8,076,741

6

470

GA

7,164,050

7

602

AZ

7,005,915

8

336

NC

6,724,482

9

910

NC

6,596,712

10

720

CO

6,443,675

Rank

NPA

Area

Total

1

202

DC

8,932,008

2

520

AZ

8,751,991

3

720

CO

7,590,989

4

208

ID

7,529,256

5

804

VA

7,436,489

6

209

CA

7,353,416

7

336

NC

7,285,579

8

615

TN

7,220,487

9

470

GA

7,160,189

10

252

NC

7,088,863

TNS Unwanted Call Indices

TNS Calling Trust Index – Last 12 Months

TNS Complaint Index – Last 12 Months


The TNS Calling Trust Index is a measure of the crowd-source feedback for the unwanted calls that TNS receives in relation to the total number of calls to a subscriber. The index gives an indication of the consumer trust in voice calling and pulls data from our robocall protection platform TNS Call Guardian®.

The TNS Complaint Index is a measure of the FCC complaints for the Do-Not-Call List in relation to the total number of unwanted calls seen by TNS. The index gives an indication to how many consumers are reporting complaints to the FCC relative to the number of unwanted robocalls they receive.

Take Action for Robocall Protection, go to: ReportARobocall.com

TNS Call Guardian uses real-time call events combined with crowd-sourced data to create accurate and comprehensive reputation profiles differentiating legitimate users from abusive, fraudulent and unlawful ones. Reporting robocall incidents adds important data making our solutions more robust.

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