A new type of scam is spreading on the internet. Thanks to screen sharing tools, crooks can take control of your computer, and thus recover sensitive information, such as your bank details. According to the British financial sector regulator, more than 29 million euros have been stolen since January 2021
It was our neighbors across the Channel who were the first to sound the alarm. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulator of the British financial sector, said on May 5, 2022 that it had spotted a new online scam, which allegedly allowed crooks to steal more than 25 million pounds (about 29 million euros). euros) since January 2021. The latter pretend to be investment advisers and offer to install new devices on your computer, with software for remote access or screen sharing.
A tool already widely used in the professional world
This tool, you may use it at work. This is software that allows computer support to take control of your workstation, to solve your computer problems without having to be present. This software can be called AnyDesk, TeamViewer, Teams or Zoom.
These are common and well-known computer programs, the names of which can be trusted. But the crooks have also seen the possibilities offered by this remote control. Thanks to it, they can browse your machine as they wish, and retrieve the information they are looking for…
This is what happened to Angela Underhill, a 59-year-old Briton. After clicking on an advertisement for a cryptocurrency, she received a call from someone claiming to be a financial advisor. He persuaded this lady to install the AnyDesk screen-control sharing application on her computer, which gave her free access to the financial data stored on her computer.
The thug stole Angela Underhill’s bank details, stole her pension, and took out several loans in her name. In total, she would have been stolen more than 48,000 pounds (about 56,000 €).
Read also: Brittany. The scammer opened bank accounts with false identities
“Investment scams can happen over months, but sharing your screen without doing the necessary checks can change everything in an instant, says Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of law enforcement and market surveillance. Once crooks gain access to your screen, they have full control of it. This means they have access to your sensitive banking and investment information, are free to browse as they please, and can take all the details they want. »
Read also: Vitale card scam targets victims via text message
Scams on the rise
These scams have become more and more important in recent months, explains the FCA. About 2,100 cases have been reported to it since July 2020. The regulator has seen an 86% increase to 683 between July and December 2021, compared to 367 for the same period the previous year.
And these scams can be hard to spot. “Screen-sharing scams are often incredibly sophisticated and, as the FCA rightly acknowledges, even the most experienced investors can be taken in by these scammers,” adds Rocio Concha, from UK consumer organization Which?, when interviewed by UK Broadcasting BBC .
“If you have shared your screen with a scammer, try to regain control of your device by using the disconnect button, allowing you to end the session, he advises. As a precaution, you can turn off wifi or unplug the network cable to completely disconnect from any external connection. »
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