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No, the FTC Is Not Seeking to Access Your Computer

In the latest scam, fraudsters tell potential victims they need info to issue refunds

Man holds credit card while typing on laptop

Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Beware of callers trying to access your computer

If you get a call from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking for remote access to your computer to give you money, hang up. It’s not really the FTC, and it's likely the caller is looking for information to do the opposite: take money from you.

In the most recent scam, fraudsters pretend to be calling on behalf of the FTC’s Advanced Tech Support (ATS) refund program, claiming to need information to disburse money.

In its recent case against ATS, the FTC found that the firm had engaged in “high-pressure sales pitches to market tech-support products and services by falsely claiming to find viruses and malware on people’s computers.” The FTC already has mailed all refund checks relating to the ATS fraud.

But now scammers are telling potential victims that refunds are still available and that the only way to get the money is by allowing the callers to gain access to their computers.

Similar scams try to sell useless software, persuade people to install malware that could harm their computers, or direct victims to websites where they are asked to enter sensitive information like credit card numbers and security codes.

The FTC stresses that the agency and its refund administrators would never ask for remote access or seek an initial payment to distribute a refund. If you get such a call, you are advised to hang up and report the incident to the FTC.

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