Oct 24, 2023: PVPD Warn of New Financial Scam
The Prescott Valley Police Department is warning the community of a new scam dubbed “The Phantom Hacker." Scammers are impersonating technology, banking, and government officials in a complex ruse to convince a typically older victim that foreign hackers have infiltrated their financial account. The scammers then instruct the victim to immediately move their money to an alleged U.S. Government account to “protect” their assets. In reality, there was never a foreign hacker, and the money is now fully controlled by the scammers. Some victims are losing their entire life savings.
The ruse is often perpetrated in three major steps:
First: A scammer posing as a customer support representative from a legitimate technology company initiates contact with the victim through a phone call, text, email, or a popup window on their computer and instructs the victim to call a number for “assistance.”
Second: A scammer, posing as a representative of the financial institution mentioned above, such as a bank or a brokerage firm, contacts the victim. The scammer falsely informs the victim their computer and financial accounts have been accessed by a foreign hacker and the victim must move their money to a “safe” third-party account, such as an account with the Federal Reserve or another U.S. Government agency.
Third: The victim may be contacted by a scammer posing as the Federal Reserve or another U.S. Government agency. If the victim becomes suspicious, the scammer may send an email or a letter on what appears to be official U.S. Government letterhead to legitimize the scam. The scammer will continue to emphasize the victim’s funds are “unsafe” and they must be moved to a new “alias” account for protection until the victim concedes. Victims often suffer the loss of entire banking, savings, retirement, and investment accounts under the guise of “protecting” their assets.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Do not click on unsolicited pop-ups, links sent via text messages, email links, or attachments.
- Do not contact the telephone number provided in a pop-up, text, or email.
- Do not download software at the request of an unknown individual who contacted you.
- Do not allow an unknown individual who contacted you to have control of your computer.
- The US Government will never request you send money to them via wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift/prepaid cards.
- The FBI requests victims report these fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. Be sure to include as much information as possible, such as: The name of the person or company that contacted you and methods of communication used, to include websites, emails, telephone numbers, the bank account number where the funds were wired and the recipient’s name(s).
Prescott Valley Police Department can be contacted at (928) 772-9267 for non-emergencies, and 911 for emergencies. Yavapai Silent witness is 1-800-932-3232.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PrescottValleyPD or @prescottvalleypd
Twitter: www.twitter.com/PolicePV or @policepv
Instagram: www.instagram.com/prescottvalleypolice or @prescottvalleypolice