Kingston Police release warning about tech support scams

Photo by Joseph Gruenthal.

Kingston Police are warning the public of a scam which involves fake invoices attached to emails asking individuals to call a phone number to resolve an issue.

According to a media release, police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) have received reports of fraudsters sending emails to victims with fake invoices in an attachment. The invoice will use the names and logos of antivirus, tech support and internet payment service companies, police noted, which makes them appear potentially legitimate. The fake invoice will claim that your subscription has automatically renewed or that there has been an issue with your payment.

“Fraudsters will provide a phone number for victims to call in order to cancel the service or resolve the ‘issue’. If the victim calls the phone number, suspects will ask for remote access to the victim’s device and may ask you to log in to your online banking. By doing this, they will be able to steal your personal and financial information,” police said.

Police provided the following warning signs and how to protect yourself:

  • Never open attachments from unsolicited emails as these can contain malware or viruses.
  • Never allow an unknown person to gain remote access to your computer/device.
  • Always look for the legitimate contact information for your service providers.
  • Be suspicious about unsolicited phone calls, pop-ups and emails stating your computer/device is infected with a virus or that a threat has been detected.
  • Tech support fraudsters will often use “search engine optimization”; they will often be in the first results of your online search.
  • Always confirm your service provider’s domain and contact information before making a phone call or sending an email.
  • Never log in to your bank accounts or email when using remote access applications or sharing your screen with someone.

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime should report it to Kingston Police by visiting their website and submitting an online report or by calling 613-549-4660. They should also report scams to the CAFC’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. “Even if you are not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway,” Kingston Police said.

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