Woman In Online Scam

Authorities have warned Australians to remain vigilant against remote access frauds, following an uptick in scammers tricking people into believing they are helping the victims to fix their account, computer or phone.

Con artists were reportedly adopting the identities of reputable businesses to fool individuals into installing software that enables them to embezzle funds from bank accounts.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a warning following news that average victim losses in the first quarter of 2024 surged by 52% to a startling $17,943, Perth Now.

The elderly are the most often targeted demographic, with Australians losing an astounding $15.5 million to these scams in 2023 alone. Advanced methods like phone call simulation, pop-up messages on websites, and intricate emails were used by fraudsters to trick victims into giving them access to their gadgets.

ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said the agency was concerned, as the scammers were draining entire bank accounts.

"Financial criminals use sophisticated emails, web-based pop-up messages, and phone calls to impersonate well-known companies such as Microsoft to deceive people into thinking there is a problem with their account, computer, or phone that needs fixing," said Lowe, News.com reported.

"The scammer will sound professional and offer to help resolve the problem, by instructing the victim to download well-known screen-sharing software such as AnyDesk, Zoho, or Teamviewer.

The victim unwittingly gives the fraudster total control of their device by downloading the program at their request. This renders the victim financially susceptible by enabling the fraudster to steal confidential data, install malware, or even start illicit financial activities.

"Never download software or apps if directed to by someone over the phone and never share banking information, passwords or two-factor identification codes," advised Lowe.

To put a stop to such scams, the National Anti-Scam Centre has also informed desktop application software companies of scams utilizing their products, so that they can inform their customers.