Florida residents beware: The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is collecting data on so-called tech support imposters which indicates a wave of senior victims in Florida.
The IC3 Elder Fraud Report ranks Florida second in the nation in tech impostor scams with 9,645 individuals 60 years and older falling victim to fraud.
According to the FBI, criminals may pose as a security, customer or technical support representative offering to resolve bogus issues like a compromised email or bank account, a virus on a computer or a software license renewal.
The contacts will come from an unsolicited telephone call, search engine advertising, a pop-up message or a locked screen device.
In the last instance, the victim’s device displays a frozen locked screen with a phone number leading you to a bogus tech support company.
The end game is always to get your money, according to Wells Fargo’s Chief of Aging Client Services Ron Long.
“The phone and the internet are (a) means of at least getting them to take the bait,” Long said.
In a recent case, a Wells Fargo client lost $20,000 of his own money after it was transferred by tech repair imposters from his savings to his checking account.
Long told News 6 it is banking sleight of hand.
“What they do is take your own money from your savings account, move $20,000 to your checking account and then say, ‘Oh, that $20,000 is from us,’” Long said.
In this case, the victim was convinced the impostors would lose their jobs because they were only supposed to refund him $200 after the security service was canceled.
The $20,000 “mistake” was convincing enough for the victim to tell the bank he needed to transfer the money for a family member.
“One of the things that stops many of these frauds is better communication with both family and your financial institution,” Long said.
Individuals who believe they may be a victim of an online scam, regardless of dollar amount, should file a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov. The more often fraud and scams are reported, the better equipped law enforcement can be to address the issues.