"Phantom Hacker" Scams Target Senior Citizens and Result in Victims Losing their Life Savings
The FBI has issued a warning about a new scam called the "Phantom Hacker" scam, which is specifically targeting senior citizens. This scam involves imposters posing as tech support, financial institution, and government representatives to gain the trust of victims. The scammers convince victims to download software that gives them remote access to their computers, then they pretend to find evidence of hacking and direct the victims to open their financial accounts. The scammers then pose as representatives from the victim's bank or brokerage firm and convince them to transfer money to a "safe" third-party account. In some cases, they even pose as government officials to further legitimize the scam. The FBI has received over 19,000 complaints related to tech support scams in the first half of 2023, with losses exceeding $542 million. Nearly half of the victims were over 60 years old. The FBI advises the public to be cautious of unsolicited pop-ups, not to download software from unknown sources, and to never transfer money to foreign accounts or gift cards. Victims are urged to report any fraudulent activity to their local FBI office and the FBI IC3.