I’m one of those people who get really excited when someone calls to scam me. This week we got a new one. The Amazon Phone Scam. I’m currently setting up my lab computer in a way where it will be safe for me to give them remote access.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME
I have 20+ years of tech support experience with 8 years of actually working at Apple in the Applications department. Recently I have been learning about hacking and internet security. My hobbies include con artists, how they work, why we fall for them. I even wanted to become a con artist at one point but have a slight problem with having too much of a conscious (I’m the guy who walks back into the fast-food restaurant to return the $5 that the cashier gave to me by mistake)
The Scam and how it works
So the best form of protection from a scam is understanding how it works. Maybe if I blog about it someone will see this coming and avoid getting scammed. The Amazon Phone Scam works very similarly to the Telstra phone scam. The goal of the phone scammer is to gain control of your system.
In both cases, they try to get you to access your computer by downloading some software.
The Robot call
The call will start off with a robotic voice. The two I have encountered had different accents one was clearly a Chinese accent the other was so Australian that it sounded like the person had Vegemite for blood and Timtams for bones.
The message will sound something like this
Thank you for Using Amazon Prime. We will automatically renew your service for $35 automatically if you do not wish to renew this service press #1Amazon phone scam caller
From here the best way to avoid the scam is to hang up. But if you press one you will be directed to a call centre. The person on the other end will be super polite. However, I have noted they will attempt to try to keep you on the phone as long as they can. (The opposite on how real phone support people act) They will question why you have to go? When can they call you again? And do you have other devices they can work on while you are away? Just hang up.
Next, they will try to get you to download Teamviewer or other remote access software. This software allows someone else from anywhere else on the internet to control your computer. If they do this your call will be directed to someone who more computer skill than the person who had called ( This is where the trouble starts). I have a trap set for the next guy who tries this on me and I will blog about that later when I have more information.
Getting access to your Bank
Remember the whole goal of these scammers is to take your money. One of the ways they will do that is by getting access to your bank account through your web browser. Banks are very hard to hack and your best defence is to have a strong password for your bank and email (if your email password gets hacked so does everything else) However by getting control of your computer they can use the saved passwords in your web browser.
Encrypting your hard drive
As much as taking money directly from your Bank is wrong and criminal. Encrypting your hard drive is EVIL. The reason why I say this is because they are going to be attacking your family photos, Your tax and financial information. That science fiction novel that you have been working on for five years. Everything that is really important to you that is kept on that computer will be locked. And trust me if your hard drive is encrypted there is nothing even a guy like me can do.
What do you do if you have been scammed?
First, call the Police. Then walk into your bank. Don’t call. Don’t send an email. WALK INTO YOUR BANK and bring your laptop. Your bank has entire teams of people whose job is to investigate fraud like this.
IF you have a Mac I can make sure that your system is no longer under the control of the scam artist.
So how do you avoid the Amazon phone scam?
The easiest way to avoid the scam is just to hang up. They cannot hurt you if you hang up. If you know a Senior or adult who has problems with understanding scams like this in the Blue Mountains area I do give classes.
We also have a device called Magg-pi. Where it cannot prevent the calls it does stop someone from downloading the software necessary to have a scammer control your computer.[hubspot portal=”8099725″ id=”48fa2a0e-9ed0-48c6-8ac0-7de7f872a5f9″ type=”form”]