Cyber community rejoices as four online scammers won’t be roaming the streets and the Internet’s back alleys free anymore. At least for a while. The foursome aged 37, 35, 29 and 31 are the UK citizens from South Shields and Woking . These men and women were put into custody by North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) on June 27, 2017, after a two-year long investigation.
Two of the suspect were released with awaiting trial while the remaining couple applied for bail. Their request is still pending.
Perpetrators pretended to be Microsoft technicians
The arrested individuals were accused of taking part in scam campaigns which involved tricking unsuspecting users to give up their sensitive details, control of their computers as well as their money to the fraudulent third-parties.
The perpetrators manipulated victims into believing that they needed professional help fixing their computers, otherwise the devices will supposedly be trashed by some major system malfunction or virus.
In the technical field, such deceptive techniques are known as Tech Support Scams . On our site, we have already analyzed a bunch of these threats, including currently very active “Windows Detected ZEUS Virus” and “Windows Defender Alert: Zeus Virus” scams.
Support Scams can apply clever social engineering techniques to attract potential victims’ attention and reach their goals. In this case, perpetrators relied on a lightweight piece of malware to redirect their potential victims to bogus websites designed to look like Microsoft's security warnings.
The deceptive websites contained pop-ups which urged victims to contact Microsoft staff via given phone numbers and asks for technical assistance. The problem is that the mentioned company does not send such messages around, especially not through some random websites.
When the fake support number is dialled, the victims are actually greeted by shifty fraudsters who may ask to grant remote access to the device, try to push into obtaining useless software or urge to sign up for non-existent technical support packages.
Tech Support Scams are profitable business
Over one year’s period, there were over 34,500 cases of online frauds reported in UK alone. Victims suffered financial losses reaching up to £600 and more. Of course, we should keep in mind that the same scam campaign may extend through numerous countries and start spreading anywhere, from Bulgaria to Japan , infecting even more computers and receiving larger revenues. You can do the math yourself.
Besides, the statistics show that older people are tricked by Tech Support Scams more often. So, if you have relatives or friends which you suspect may not be especially tech-savvy, inform them about the dangers that may await online and don’t fall into the scammers’ traps yourself!