LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock FBI office is cautioning that hackers have developed a new scam to steal money from unsuspecting victims.
Called the “Phantom Hacker” scam, it works like this, according to agents: A scammer will call an intended victim while impersonating someone from a technology, banking or government agency. The scammer then persuades the victim that their foreign hackers have infiltrated their financial accounts and to move their money to a purported U.S. government account to keep it safe.
The victims transfer the money, which places it in an account under the full control of the scammers.
The criminals often target the elderly, FBI officials said, and victims have sometimes lost their entire life savings. The scam can be so sophisticated that an intended victim receives a series of phone calls from different people, each referring to the previous caller before they are tricked into transferring their money into an account controlled by the thieves.
The FBI says the best way to avoid the scam is to not click or call a phone number on pop-ups, links received as text messages, email links or attachments. Also, do not download or install software or give control of your computer to a stranger.
Finally, the U.S. government will never request money via wire transfer, cryptocurrency or gift cards, FBI officials stated.
If someone suspects they have or are being scammed, they can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. If possible, a targeted individual should include the name of the company or person who called them, the methods of communication and the bank account number where funds were transferred.