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FBI San Francisco Office Issues Alert on Scam Involving ‘Phantom Hacker’ Targeting Local Residents

Photo: NPR

FBI San Francisco office recently issued a public warning about a sophisticated scam dubbed “The Phantom Hacker” that specifically targets older adults.

FBI San Francisco Office Issues Alert on Scam Involving ‘Phantom Hacker’ Targeting Local Residents (Photo: ABC7 Chicago)

How “The Phantom Hacker” Scam Operates

In a report featured by the Pleasanton Weekly, in October 08, 2023, the scam involves perpetrators posing as tech support, bank employees, or government officials, reaching out to older individuals to convince them that their financial accounts have been compromised by foreign hackers. The FBI San Francisco office has highlighted the intricacies of this scam, emphasizing the need for public awareness and vigilance.

According to FBI San Francisco office, in the elaborate scheme orchestrated by scammers, victims are first contacted by individuals posing as legitimate customer support representatives. These scammers employ various channels such as phone calls, texts, emails, or popup windows on computers to instruct victims to call a specified number for “assistance.” The subsequent steps involve deceiving victims into downloading software that grants remote access to their computers.

Added by FBI San Francisco office, the scammers then manipulate victims into thinking their computers are at risk of being hacked, ultimately leading them to disclose sensitive banking information. This insight into the scam’s operational details serves as a crucial guide for individuals to recognize and thwart potential threats.

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The Fallout of “The Phantom Hacker” Scam

In a report published by CBS News, as victims unwittingly cooperate with scammers, the situation escalates when the perpetrators, posing as representatives of financial institutions, falsely claim that the victim’s computer and bank accounts have been accessed by foreign hackers. The victims as stated by FBI San Francisco office, are coerced into transferring their funds to purportedly secure accounts, often overseas, through wire transfers, cash transactions, or cryptocurrency.

The FBI San Francisco office reveals that this deceptive process can span days or even months, leading to devastating financial losses for some victims who have reportedly lost their entire life savings. By shedding light on the severity of the consequences, the FBI aims to empower the public to recognize and report such fraudulent activities promptly.

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