According to the FBI, a Phantom Hacker Scam tricks people by using pop-ups, text, or email to get the person’s attention, then claims to be from a legitimate agency. They then warn the person that their financial information has been hacked. The pop-up, text, or email indicate they must talk to protect their device and accounts. The scammer then tells the person to contact them. They will say they need remote access to run the scan for malware. Afterward, they claim your computer and accounts have been compromised. They then tell you that somebody from the fraud department at the person’s financial institution will be contacting them. The fraud department imposter calls the person to tell them they must move their money to a safe account to protect it from hackers.
The FBI also says people have received letters of what appears to look like government letterhead, which is not and is fraudulent.
Steps to protect yourself:
- Do not click on unsolicited pop-ups, links sent via text messages, or email links or attachments.
- Do not contact the phone number in a pop-up, text, or email.
- Do not download software at the request of an unknown individual who contacted you.
- Do not allow an unknown individual who contacted you to have control of your computer or device.
Remember, the US Government will never request you send them money via wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or a prepaid or gift card.