Remote Access Scams

A Remote Access Scam Story

The story below is an example of a real scam that was recently perpetrated on a BHCCU member. 
This scam began with an email from "Norton" (an anti-virus software firm) hitting our member's inbox. The email stated that our member had been charged for the "Norton" service, and offered a phone number for her to call if she disputed this charge. Because our member never authorized this charge, she called the number in the email. The "representative" on the phone explained that the only way to refund this charge was to grant them remote access to our member's computer, which she gave them. 

While remotely controlling our member's computer, the "representative" instructed her to log in to her online banking account so that they could deposit a refund for this charge. At this point, the scammer manipulated her computer so that it appeared she authorized "Norton" to refund her much more than she was owed. Because of this, the "representative" said that it was our member's responsibility to pay them back for the "excess" they refunded her. As far as the member could tell, she just accidentally received a huge refund deposit from "Norton" and she owed them this money back. However, in actuality, no funds had been transferred to our member, and the purpose of this ruse is to steal from her.

Our member was then instructed to withdraw large amounts of cash to send to "Norton". This member withdrew a total of $14,000 in two separate trips to the credit union, which she was instructed to deposit in a bitcoin ATM nearby. Once these funds were deposited, and the information was given to the scammer, these funds were unrecoverable.  

Now that the scammer knew our member was following their instructions, they told her to withdraw even more cash to purchase gift cards for the remaining "balance owed." Our member made more cash withdrawals, and purchased multiple gift cards that were then given to the scammer over the phone, making the funds available to them immediately.

During every interaction with BHCCU, our fraud-trained staff diligently questioned the member, attempting to uncover the real reason for her withdrawals. However, as is often the case with victims of fraud, the member believed that she was doing the right thing, and had been instructed by the scammer to lie to the credit union staff about the reason for her withdrawals. Eventually, our attempts to reach the member got through to her, and she called us for help. By the time she reached out to BHCCU, the member had already lost $27,500 from her BHCCU accounts, and an additional $7,000+ on her Citibank credit card. 

Due to the rise in financial fraud perpetrated by scammers, our Fraud & BSA Officer, Angie Hoium works with members who have been scammed or are being scammed every day. It's important to remember that smart, capable, responsible people fall victim to these scams, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. The sooner BHCCU staff knows about the situation, the better our chances are of recovering your money and helping you stop the scammer. 

Tips to Remember:

If you receive a message about a charge to your account, verify that this charge actually came out of your account before taking any action. Call BHCCU at 800-779-5555 or log in to your online banking. 
Do not call a phone number or click a link you receive in an email you weren't expecting. Instead, locate the sending organization's verified phone number from their official website and call them directly to verify the email you received.
Do not grant anyone with remote access to your computer. If you're having an issue that requires tech support, reach out to a trusted friend or local organization that offers in-person support.
Legitimate tech support companies will NEVER ask you to log in to your online banking for a refund. 
Real companies will never demand payment in the form of Bitcoin or gift cards.
BHCCU staff is here to protect you and your money. If you're being pressured by anyone to withdraw or transfer your funds: tell us, we will help you without judgement.