In recent times, Qudos Bank has observed a surge in Remote Access Scams impacting Australians, prompting a call for heightened awareness and caution. Remote access programs, originally designed as legitimate software for computer, phone, or tablet usage, have become a tool exploited by scammers to gain control over victims' devices.

According to Scamwatch, in 2023 there were 8,975 reports by Australians impacted by Remote Access Scams, totalling a financial loss of $15,531,832. The impact of Remote Access Scams is trending with scammers becoming more sophisticated with their tactics and using remote access programs to their advantage.

In this edition of myQ, we outline the different scenarios on how Remote Access Scams work, the signs you need to be aware of and tips on how you can protect yourself.

How does a Remote Access Scam work?

Remote Access Scams work when individuals are coerced into installing remote access software under false pretences, leading to detrimental consequences. The are two primary scenarios where scammers employ these deceptive tactics.

Scenario 1: Deceptive Pop-Up Messages

Victims may encounter a pop-up message on their computer screen, claiming to identify issues with their device. The message typically provides a phone number, posing as IT assistance and offering a solution to the alleged problem. Once clicked on, this usually installs software, programs and/or viruses onto your devices that could allow information to be accessed and compromised.

Scenario 2: Cold Call Scams

Individuals receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers posing as representatives from telecommunications or IT support companies. The caller falsely asserts that there is a problem with the victim's device, such as a slow internet connection or potential hacking of your device or accounts.

In both instances, the scammers guide victims through the installation of remote access software (program) on their computers, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones. Once installed, the third-party gains control over the victim's screen, manipulating the situation to appear as if they are resolving a non-existent issue.

Signs of a Remote Access Scam you need to be aware of

Is your mouse moving on its own? Or does the third party speak like they can see your screen? These are signs that a Remote Access Program is active on your device.

Scammers will take their time to build rapport and have long, drawn out conversations with you that can go on for hours.

Once they have gained your trust, using fear tactics, the scammer will steer the conversation to your banking and claim that your bank account is being hacked. The third party will ask you to login into your online banking to check the status of your accounts or to receive a refund (failure of IT software detecting the “Issue”).

Be cautious, as scammers may provide you false information which may lead to you unknowingly authorise external transfers or to share security codes which enable the scammer to complete transactions on your accounts.

Scammers will provide fabricated responses to supply to your bank should they contact you to verify transactions. Always, be honest with bank staff to help protect your accounts.

If you have found yourself involved in a Remote Access Scam, please take immediate action by turning off your computer, tablet or mobile and contact Qudos Bank to report the incident.

Qudos Bank urges to stay vigilant and exercise caution when encountering such scenarios. Being informed about these Remote Access Scams is crucial to preventing falling victim to fraudulent activities that could compromise personal information and security.

Tips on how to protect yourself from a Remote Access Scam

  • Never give an unknown third-party remote access to your computer. If you receive a pop-up window on your screen offering IT support that cannot be dismissed, restart your device. This includes not downloading any software or programs onto your devices if and when asked to.<
  • If you have concerns regarding your device security, contact your local IT professional or computer store.
  • Legitimate companies will never contact you and request remote access to your device in order to fix an IT issue, catch hackers, provide a refund or ask for your password and log in credentials.
  • If in doubt about a call, terminate it and dial the companies advertised number. Do not use the contact details supplied by an unknown third-party caller or on communication you are trying to verify as genuine.

For more information, visit our Fraud & Security hub and learn more on our website.

Antar Chahine

  By Antar Chahine
   Chief Risk Officer

The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.

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