What to do after a scammer attack?
Being a victim of a scam attack or any other criminal threat can be an emotional and stressful situation for most of us.
This blog post provides you with first aid and guidance on what to do after a scam attack.
First things first to keep in mind
The scammers and Social Engineers' methods are numerous and not always easy to spot - even for professionals.
Therefore: Do not beat yourself up because you fell for one, and keep in mind that there is an organized-multi-million-dollar crime network behind scammers. They have become sophisticated and are getting more creative every day to trick as many people as possible.
If you want to learn more about the Danger of Social Engineering and The 5 golden rules to protect against Social Engineering, we recommend reading this article.
What to do after a scammer reached out to you?
I am going from rather general to more specific advice. I recommend reading all of it, but you can jump to the chapter that is most relevant for you right now freely.
The most important thing is to calm down and take it deep breath - even though you are stressed right now.
As there are thousands of scam attempts every day, chances are high to get contacted by a scammer via email or telephone. I am not saying this to put extra stress on you but clarify that being approached by a scammer has become an ordinary thing - unfortunately. But this means we all need to be prepared for such calls and emails.
And with this: Do not panic and focus on minimizing the effect the criminal has on you.
- Make sure to hang up the phone, delete the email, or even shut down your computer and take a break to reflect on what occurred.
Report what happened
Even if the scammer did not manage to trick you, it is essential to report what happened.
As a society, we need to raise awareness about the danger of Social Engineering, file all cases, and share our stories with our communities.
Only by spreading the message about scamming and unveiling the scammer's methods, we have a chance to protect more people by allowing them to protect themselves.
You can file a case with the police and notify national institutions. Here is a list of links for some English-speaking countries as well for Europe, where you can find the corresponding link for your country:
- Australia: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
- Canada: https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/
- United Kingdom: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
- USA: https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds
- Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
You can also report a scam to TeamViewer via this page:
You realized the scam attack soon enough?
If you unmasked the scammer soon enough and did not give them any information about you, as well as you did not let them on any of your devices, you could still block the phone number or email address they used to hinder this scammer from contacting you again.
Besides that, make sure to report the scam attempt (see the links above), tell your family and friends about what happened, and let them know ways to spot a scam. Even if you say you don´t know such ways, tell them how you realized that this one was a scam. That is already a great starting point and a huge help!
On top of that, I want to encourage you to share helpful links with them (like the one to this article) or send them our Anti Scam Cheat Sheet:
You can also use your social media presence to reach all your friends and make them aware.
⚠Keep in mind: There is no such thing as being too security-aware.
The scammer got access to one of your devices?
Same here - take a breath and calm down. If you are too stressed right now: Turn off the computer entirely and have a small break and come back in five minutes to continue. Once you are back:
1) Turn on your computer – if possible without an internet connection. For this, you can unplug the internet cable or disable WiFi.
2) Open the remote access software and check the settings. If needed, revert changes the scammer made. We are going to give detailed instructions for TeamViewer now. Please keep in mind that scams can happen via any remote access software. If another software has been used, we recommend reaching out to the supplier for help.
--> In TeamViewer, click on Extras --> Options --> Security.
a) If set, change the personal password (for unattended access). Confirm the password in the row below.
b) Check whether Easy Access is active for the correct account (not the scammers, but yours). If not: Untick the box to remove Easy Access.
c) Navigate to Block and allowlist. Click on Configure and check the Allowlisted partners under Allow access only for the following partners.
--> Remove every account you do not know.
--> Add your account to make sure only you can make a connection to this computer.
💡Hint: If you still have the ID of the scammer, you can add it to the blocklist under Deny access for the following partners.
d) Click OK on the PopUp to get back to the Security Options.
e) Navigate to General and remove the account assignment if set
f) Click OK to leave the TeamViewer Options and save your changes.
3) Please check whether additional remote access software has been installed. If so – you may want to uninstall it.
4) Turn on the internet again for some other topics to check:
5) Change all your passwords on all the platforms you use (e.g. Amazon, etc.) and -if possible- enforce a logout on all devices.
a) Make sure to have strong and unique passwords everywhere.
b) Do not reuse passwords or use the same passwords on multiple platforms.
c) Activate 2-factor authentication wherever possible
6) Check your profiles for recent activity and purchases. If anything unusual appears, inform the platform provider and ask them to cancel everything.
7) Inform your bank in case you gave out or typed in your banking information somewhere. You might want to lock your credit card and request a new one.
8) Report the scam, as mentioned above, to the police, national institutions, and TeamViewer.
You clicked on a suspicious link or downloaded a file?
Run your Anti-Virus software and scan your computer for viruses, compromised files, and malware.
Remove anything classified as harmful and uninstall the program you have been asked to install.
If you are in doubt about how to run such a scan or how to uninstall a program, reach out to an IT expert for help. Here, I recommend asking a friend or family member whether they can suggest a trustworthy expert if you do not know someone yourself.
I want to invite you to join our forces to beat the scammers and educate more and more people to protect more and more people. You can join this force by simply spreading the word, making your peers aware, and sharing information like this blog post with others.
And of course: Stay cautious and aware of spotting the next attempt.
Some more background Information
Unfortunately, there have been some instances of malicious use of our software, TeamViewer. Scammers attempt to sell their services via phone by claiming that your device is infected by malware.
📌Note: TeamViewer is a legitimate software development company. We take the privacy and security of our customers' and partners' personal information very seriously. We can assure you, TeamViewer is not associated with, or responsible for, any of these instances.
Please find more information here: TeamViewer and Scamming
Thanks and stay safe!