Gift Card Scammers Going After Cellphones

In an interesting change of behavior, the scammers are going after control of your cell phone instead of your computer. Most cell phones don't have much in the way of cybersecurity so there's less to prevent them from doing something nasty. More of our lives are on our cellphones too. Contacts, e-mails, pictures, texts, and call logs. Many Multi-Factor Authentication methods rely on cell phones as well.

The Scam

This scam group is using a robo caller with a dial prompt ("press 1 to ...") to give them a feeling of legitimacy. I was sort of surprised it didn't want to talk about my extended warranty. Getting someone to perform some actions is a common con tactic. It helps anchor the con in your head even if you know something feels off about it.

After connecting you to their fake Amazon support, they'll ask you to connect to TeamViewer Quick Support to allow them control over your phone. Amazon will never request this and they absolutely do not need access to your phone or computer. Ever.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a virtual phone ready so I couldn't walk the scammer through the process to see everything they wanted to do. I've got one set up for next time, though. I was able to record it (video above) so you can hear how the scam goes. I definitely knew what they were doing, so don't worry about me falling for the scam. Some things interesting about this scam:

  • They targeted the cell phone instead of the computer.

  • At least three distinct voices could be heard. This is a scam call center.

  • The robo call came from a local phone number. I've reported the number to the carrier so they may shut it down.

Be safe and trust your gut! If it feels suspicious, hang up. Call the supposed company directly using the phone number from their website.

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