There is a significant spike in money recovery phishing scams targeting past victims. These types of scams are effective because the original scammers keep track of people who proved to be naive and trusting, and fell victim to other scam campaigns.
Even though these victims are now more alert than most people due to previous negative experiences, there is still a high likelihood of them falling for the scam because of the believable story used in the second attempt.
How money recovery phishing scams work
The common theme of these money recovery phishing scams is the scammers posing as a money recovery firm, law office, or a special government task force, helping people recover stolen funds. They contact their victims via phone or email and ask them to fill out fake paperwork to make the story appear as legitimate as possible. They also demand an up-front payment that supposedly covers the processing fees.
Through this fake paperwork, the scammers not only steal the identification details of these people but sometimes also request remote access to the victims’ devices to allegedly look for traces left by the original scammer. In other cases, they contact people who haven’t been scammed, presenting them with a range of potential recovery amounts to lure them.
Victims believe they will recover a significant sum and give away money, personal details, and even remote device access to the threat actors.
Often these fraudsters use an organization name with words like ‘complaint’, ‘scam’, or ‘review’.
What to do as a victim
If you are a victim of online fraud, we advise you to report this fraud immediately.
United States: Report to the FTC via their website, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357
Australia or New Zealand: Report to IDCare, the official national identity, and cyber support service.
United Kingdom: Report to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, through their online reporting tool or call 0300 123 2040.
Reporting phishing emails and text messages to these appropriate agencies helps track bad actors, prevent other people from being scammed, and possibly lead to compensation for registered and validated victims.
If you think you are the victim of a scam, you should also contact your bank and card issuer immediately, and ask them to place your account under fraud monitoring.