FBI Issues Urgent Alert as 'Phantom Hackers' Surge in Scam Activity!

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The FBI has warned of a recent surge in activity by a group of scammers known as "phantom hackers." The scammers target older adults, often posing as tech support staff, bank employees, or government officials. They claim that the victim's financial accounts have been infiltrated by foreign hackers and that they need to take immediate action to protect their assets. The FBI has received over 19,000 complaints about the phantom hacker scam in the first half of 2023, with estimated losses totaling over $542 million.

The Indiana Attorney General has alerted people about two different spooky scams. One of the latest tricks targets victims by posing as a bank representative or tech support agent. Fraudsters will convince people to download software onto their computer and then transfer money to solve made-up problems.

The FBI's San Francisco office warned the public about the phantom hacker scam, which has been targeting older adults in the Bay Area. The FBI is investigating a nationwide scam in which scammers are impersonating tech support staff, bank employees, and government officials in order to gain the trust of older adults and steal their money.

Sometimes, "phantom" hackers will even pose as a government agency and convince people their money isn't safe and that it needs to be transferred. You should never download anything from strangers on the internet or click on unfamiliar links from text messages or email. Remember your bank or the Government will never ask you to download software or ask you send money to them through wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.

In the scam, the scammers typically follow these steps:

  1. They contact the victim by phone, text message, or email.
  2. They claim that the victim's financial accounts have been hacked.
  3. They instruct the victim to download software or provide access to their computer or device.
  4. They use the software or access to steal the victim's personal or financial information.
  5. They may also instruct the victim to transfer money to a "safe" account, which is actually controlled by the scammers.

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How to protect yourself from the phantom hacker scam:

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls, text messages, and emails from people claiming to be from tech support, banks, or government agencies.
  • Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Do not download software or give access to your computer or device to people you do not know and trust.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a call, text message, or email, hang up or delete it and contact the company or agency directly.


In conclusion, should you suspect that you have fallen prey to the phantom hacker scam, it is imperative to take swift action. Your first step should be to reach out to the FBI for immediate assistance and guidance. Additionally, consider filing a formal complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to help combat such fraudulent activities and protect others from becoming victims.

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