Internet Crime Complaint Center Publishes Report

WASHINGTON, January 7, 2013 - This report, which is based upon information from law enforcement and complaints submitted to the IC3, details recent cyber crime trends and new twists to previously-existing cyber scams.

NEW TWIST TO ONLINE TECH SUPPORT SCAM

The IC3 continues to receive complaints reporting telephone calls from individuals claiming to be with Tech Support from a well-known software company. The callers have very strong accents and use common names such as "Adam" or "Bill." Callers report the user's computer is sending error messages, and a virus has been detected. In order to gain access to the user's computer, the caller claims that only their company can resolve the issue.

The caller convinces the user to grant them the authority to run a program to scan their operating system. Users witness the caller going through their files as the caller claims they are showing how the virus has infected their computer.

Users are told the virus could be removed for a fee and are asked for their credit card details. Those who provide the caller remote access to their computers, whether they paid for the virus to be removed or not, report difficulties with their computer afterwards; either their computers would not turn on or certain programs/files were inaccessible.

Some report taking their computers to local technicians for repair and the technicians confirmed software had been installed. However, no other details were provided.

In a new twist to this scam, it was reported that a user's computer screen turned blue, and eventually black, prior to receiving the call from Tech Support offering to fix their computer. At this time, it has not been determined if this is related to the telephone call or if the user had been experiencing prior computer problems.

TDOS ATTACKS TO EMERGENCY SERVICES

As some are aware, reports of pay day loan phone scams have been occurring for the last three years or more. The scam involves victims being relentlessly contacted at their residences and places of employment regarding claims they are delinquent on a payday loan. Various coercion techniques have been used by the subjects in an attempt to persuade the victim to send money. Such techniques have evolved from repeated annoying phone calls to abusive language, threats of bodily harm, and arrests.

The IC3 has become aware of increased coercion tactics used by the subjects, which have created a threat to emergency services across the nation. The threats have now escalated into a Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) attacks against the victims' employers, which some have been emergency service agencies. The TDoS attacks have tied up the emergency services' telephone lines, preventing them from receiving and responding to legitimate emergency calls.

The other tactic the subjects are now using in order to convince the victim that a warrant for their arrest exists is by spoofing a police department's telephone number when calling the victim. The subject claims there is a warrant issued for the victim's arrest for failure to pay off the loan. In order to have the police actually respond to the victim's residence, the subject places repeated, harassing calls to the local police department while spoofing the victim's telephone number.


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