Hello and welcome back to the Scam Logs. Today, we’ll talk about one of the cruelest scams possible. It’s not a type that can ruin the most lives but instead feels the most personal. This scam is an active betrayal.
And that’s fake help scams. A very specific form of phishing where the scammer poses as support staff. People put a lot of trust into helplines and such—and this capitalizes on it.
They might call you about some issue, or even have a fake website. Once someone is in their clutches, they get information out that allows them access. They might even offer legitimate help in their pursuit of a single data point. One password unlocks enough doors to be dangerous.
So, as we often ask, “how to prevent it?” The answer is simple, commonsense, but does require creativity: learn what data they can use to steal from you. With whatever platform you are using, mentally note what points of security you have protecting you. Passwords can be hacked, so things like security questions are supposed to help stop people from getting into your account. But that’s only if they can’t get you to tell them data that would let them through. And they will try innocuous and leading tricks to pull data. It’s not necessarily going to be obvious, pointed inquiries. If your security question is a pet’s name, then they can scoop that info during what feels like a casual conversation.
Further, don’t give them any form of access to your device, or another way to directly interact. They don’t need to remotely control something to help you.
Real helplines are usually able to give general advice that would apply to anyone. They can help with common technical issues without access to too many specifics. Those specifics are for you, and you alone, to protect your accounts.
Be smart. If it feels fishy, then say nothing more and get out of there. I don’t mean this to be sensationalizing, but they can do a lot of damage with little data. The Scam Logs is here to give you knowledge, but it’s up to you to not give anything away and not give in to pressuring or manipulative questions.