Scams This Week 3/22/22

March 22, 2022

Boise Police Fraud Investigators are dealing with scams in many different forms this week. Remote access scams stemming from fraud alerts continue to be the biggest issue they're seeing.

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Remote Access Scams: The scammer uses the fraud alert or the virus pop-up to gain access to your phone or computer. They will walk you through how to add an app, (examples: LogMeIn, TeamViewer, or GoToAssist) that provides them access to “remove the virus.”  They will also ask for payment. Through this scam, you not only provide your Financial Transaction or Bank Account information but also access to your computer or phone and everything on them. That could include online banking information, a crypto wallet, and any personal identifying information.

Never allow access to your computer or phone. If you think you have a compromised device take it to a reputable company. There are many you can do business with face to face. Remember that no one is monitoring your devices so there’s no way they could know if you have a virus.

Remote access scams can happen on your home computer or at work. Another version of this scam happens when a scammer posing as a company's IT department calls an employee and requests them to allow remote access to finish an update. By allowing "remote access" you are allowing them access to important company information. If you're not expecting an update or changes to your work device, hang up and contact your IT department directly.

Boss Scams: This happens when the scammer poses as a workplace's "CEO" and calls or texts and asks the employee for help.  That help will usually involve buying gift cards.

Scammers will look up the company and finds names and emails and telephone numbers of supervisors and bosses. They then spoof their number to make it look like the call is coming from the supervisor.  The most basic request:

  • The boss wants to give employees a $100 dollar bonus so they ask the employee to take funds out of the till and purchase $100 dollar gift cards for everyone, take a picture and send them to them.
  • The boss asks the employee to buy gift cards to support a charity.
  • The boss needs to pay vendors so the employee is asked to take money out of the till or pay out of their own pocket and be "reimbursed" later.
  • There is an emergency and the boss needs funds immediately. Instead of taking the money from the till and making a bank deposit, the employee is asked to take all the money and purchase gift cards for the boss.

This scam may also come through digitally in the form of a "Business Email Compromise (BEC).  More elaborate BEC's use a compromised email of one of the business supervisors. In this scam, a request is sent via email from the supervisor's email asking the employee to purchase gift cards for a random reason like:

  • Training
  • Gifts
  • Bonuses
  • A hack to save the money in the company

These types of scams are typically done close to closing or night shift because there are fewer employees. The stress of closing up shop at the end of the day may leave employees more vulnerable to these seemingly last-minute requests. The employee may not pause to think and because of the time of night it may be impossible to verify or they may not want to wake anyone up. The timing also means any theft will not be noticed or reported until the next day, giving scammers more time to move the money.

Remember: Pause, Think, Talk, Ask or verify.

Find more scam prevention tips on our website.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

(208) 570-6180 | BPDMedialine@cityofboise.org

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