Phantom Hacker Scam – How This Scam Works & How To Avoid It – 2023

(Last Updated On: February 17, 2024)

Phantom Hacker Scam

How This Scam Works & How To Avoid It

How Scams Work – A SCARS Insight

Article Abstract

The Phantom Hacker scam preys on older adults, posing as legitimate technology support representatives to gain access to victims’ computers.

Through phone calls, emails, or pop-up windows, scammers instill fear in victims by claiming their devices are hacked, urging immediate action. They then coerce victims into installing malware or granting remote access. Once in, scammers steal personal data or demand ransom.

This scam targets trusting older adults, leveraging sophisticated tactics like caller ID spoofing. Awareness and caution are key defenses. If targeted, victims should disconnect from the internet, scan for malware, change passwords, and report the incident.

It’s critical to educate elderly relatives about the scam and emphasize vigilance in tech-related interactions. Protecting oneself and loved ones requires diligence and proactive measures against this deceitful scheme.

Phantom Hacker Scam - How This Scam Works & How To Avoid It - 2023

The Phantom Hacker Scam: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself

The Phantom Hacker scam is a type of tech support scam that targets older adults.

Phantom Hacker Scammers pose as technology support representatives from legitimate companies, such as Microsoft or Apple, and contact victims by phone, email, or pop-up window. They tell victims that their computers have been hacked or are at risk of being hacked and that they need to take immediate action to protect their devices.

Phantom Hacker Scammers then try to convince victims to install malware on their computers or to give them remote access to their devices. Once they have access to a victim’s computer, scammers can steal personal and financial information, or they can lock the computer and demand a ransom to unlock it.

The Phantom Hacker scam is particularly dangerous because it targets older adults, who are more likely to be trusting and less likely to be familiar with technology scams. Scammers also use sophisticated tactics to trick victims, such as caller ID spoofing and social engineering.

How the Phantom Hacker Scam Works

The Phantom Hacker scam typically unfolds in the following steps:

  1. The Phantom Hacker scammer contacts the victim by phone, email, or pop-up window. They pose as a technology support representative from a legitimate company, such as Microsoft or Apple.
  2. The scammer tells the victim that their computer has been hacked or is at risk of being hacked. They may claim to have detected suspicious activity on the victim’s account, or they may claim that the victim’s computer has been infected with a virus.
  3. The scammer tells the victim that they need to take immediate action to protect their device. They may offer to install malware on the victim’s computer, or they may ask the victim to give them remote access to their device.
  4. Once the Phantom Hacker scammer has access to the victim’s computer, they can steal personal and financial information, or they can lock the computer and demand a ransom to unlock it.

The Phantom Hacker Tech Support Scam Process

The Phantom Hacker scam is a type of tech support scam that targets older adults. Scammers pose as technology support representatives from legitimate companies, such as Microsoft or Apple, and contact victims by phone, email, or pop-up window. They tell victims that their computers have been hacked or are at risk of being hacked, and that they need to take immediate action to protect their devices.

Scammers then try to convince victims to install malware on their computers or to give them remote access to their devices. Once they have access to a victim’s computer, scammers can steal personal and financial information, or they can lock the computer and demand a ransom to unlock it.

The Phantom Hacker scam is particularly dangerous because it targets older adults, who are more likely to be trusting and less likely to be familiar with technology scams. Scammers also use sophisticated tactics to trick victims, such as caller ID spoofing and social engineering.

How the Phantom Hacker Scam Process Works

The Phantom Hacker scam process typically unfolds in the following steps:

  1. Initial contact: Scammers contact the victim by phone, email, or pop-up window. They pose as technology support representatives from a legitimate company, such as Microsoft or Apple.
  2. Establishing credibility: Scammers may use caller ID spoofing to make their phone number appear as if it belongs to a legitimate company. They may also use social engineering tactics to gain the victim’s trust, such as pretending to know the victim’s name or address.
  3. Creating a sense of urgency: Scammers tell the victim that their computer has been hacked or is at risk of being hacked. They may claim to have detected suspicious activity on the victim’s account, or they may claim that the victim’s computer has been infected with a virus. They may also tell the victim that they need to take immediate action to protect their device.
  4. Requesting remote access: Scammers ask the victim to give them remote access to their computer. They may claim that they need to install software on the victim’s computer to fix the problem, or they may claim that they need to scan the victim’s computer for malware.
  5. Stealing information: Once the scammer has remote access to the victim’s computer, they can steal personal and financial information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers. They may also install malware on the victim’s computer, which can be used to steal additional information or to lock the computer and demand a ransom to unlock it.
  6. Demanding a ransom or payment: In some cases, scammers may lock the victim’s computer and demand a ransom to unlock it. They may also threaten to release the victim’s personal or financial information if they do not pay the ransom.

How Scammers Interact with Victims

Scammers who use the Phantom Hacker scam are typically very skilled at manipulating and exploiting their victims. They may use a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Fear-mongering: Scammers may try to scare victims into giving them remote access to their computers or paying a ransom. They may claim that the victim’s computer is infected with a dangerous virus or that their personal or financial information is at risk.
  • Social engineering: Scammers may use social engineering tactics to gain the victim’s trust. They may pretend to know the victim’s name or address, or they may claim to be from a legitimate company.
  • Pressure: Scammers may try to pressure victims into making quick decisions. They may tell victims that they need to act immediately to protect their computer or their personal and financial information.

How Scammers Get Their Money

Scammers can get their money from victims in a number of ways, including:

  • Bank transfers: Scammers may ask victims to wire money to them directly.
  • Gift cards: Scammers may ask victims to purchase gift cards and then give them the gift card numbers.
  • Cryptocurrency: Scammers may ask victims to pay them in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.

How to Protect Yourself from the Phantom Hacker Scam

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the Phantom Hacker scam:

  • Be wary of unsolicited technical support calls and emails. Legitimate companies will not contact you out of the blue to offer technical support.
  • Do not give remote access to your computer to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • Do not install software on your computer from unknown sources.
  • Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include security patches that can protect your computer from malware.
  • Use a strong password manager to create and manage strong passwords for all of your online accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring you to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password when you log in.

What to Do If You Think You’ve Been a Victim of the Phantom Hacker Scam

If you think you may have been a victim of the Phantom Hacker scam, it is important to take the following steps:

  1. Disconnect your computer from the internet. This will prevent the scammer from stealing any more information or locking your computer.
  2. Scan your computer for malware using an antivirus program such as Malware Bytes or Bitdefender.
  3. Change all of your passwords, especially your online banking and credit card passwords.
  4. Contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know that you may have been a victim of fraud.
  5. Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – visit reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn how.

Tips for Talking to Elderly Relatives About the Phantom Hacker Scam

If you have elderly relatives, it is important to talk to them about the Phantom Hacker scam and other types of scams that target older adults. Here are some tips:

  • Explain to them that they should be wary of any unsolicited technical support calls or emails.
  • Tell them that they should never give remote access to their computer to anyone they do not know and trust.
  • Encourage them to keep their software up to date and to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication for all of their online accounts.
  • Let them know that they should contact you if they receive any suspicious calls or emails, or if they have any concerns about their computer security.

By taking these steps, you can help to protect yourself and your loved ones from the Phantom Hacker scam and other types of scams.

Phantom Hacker Scams - FBI Infographic

SCARS Resources:

Other Cyber Resources

-/ 30 /-

What do you think about this?
Please share your thoughts in a comment below!

SCARS FREE Support & Recovery Program - 4 EVER FREE

Do You Need Support?
Get It Now!

SCARS provides the leading Support & Recovery program for relationship scam victims – completely FREE!

Our managed peer support groups allow victims to talk to other survivors and recover in the most experienced environment possible, for as long as they need. Recovery takes as long as it takes – we put no limits on our support!

SCARS is the most trusted support & education provider in the world. Our team is certified in trauma-informed care, grief counseling, and so much more!

To apply to join our groups visit support.AgainstScams.org

We also offer separate support groups for family & friends too.

SCARS STAR Membership

Become a
SCARS STAR™ Member

SCARS offers memberships in our STAR program, which includes many benefits for a very low annual membership fee!

SCARS STAR Membership benefits include:

  • FREE Counseling or Therapy Benefit from our partner BetterHelp.com
  • Exclusive members-only content & publications
  • Discounts on SCARS Self-Help Books Save
  • And more!

To learn more about the SCARS STAR Membership visit membership.AgainstScams.org

To become a SCARS STAR Member right now visit join.AgainstScams.org

PLEASE SHARE SO OTHERS WILL KNOW

SCARS Publishing Self-Help Recovery Books Available At shop.AgainstScams.org

Scam Victim Self-Help Do-It-Yourself Recovery Books

SCARS Printed Books For Every Scam Survivor From SCARS Publishing

Visit shop.AgainstScams.org

Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32-plus years of experience.

SCARS Website Visitors receive an Extra 10% Discount
Use Discount Code “romanacescamsnow” at Checkout

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

Go to reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn how

U.S. FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com
Visit reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn more!

FIND SCAMMER PHOTOS ON
ScammerPhotos.com

FIND SCARS ON FACEBOOK
CLICK HERE

Legal Disclaimer:

The content provided on this platform regarding psychological topics is intended solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The publisher makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information presented. The content is designed to raise awareness about various psychological subjects, and readers are strongly encouraged to conduct their own research and verify information independently.

The information presented does not constitute professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any psychological disorder or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Readers are advised to seek the guidance of a licensed medical professional for any questions or concerns related to their mental health.

The publisher disclaims any responsibility for actions taken or not taken based on the content provided. The treatment of psychological issues is a serious matter, and readers should consult with qualified professionals to address their specific circumstances. The content on this platform is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a therapist-client relationship.

Interpretation and Definitions

Definitions

For the purposes of this Disclaimer:

  • Company (referred to as either “the Company”, “We”, “Us” or “Our” in this Disclaimer) refers to Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. (registered d.b.a. “SCARS”,) 9561 Fountainbleau Blvd., Suit 602, Miami FL 33172.
  • Service refers to the Website.
  • You means the individual accessing this website, or the company, or other legal entity on behalf of which such individual is accessing or using the Service, as applicable.
  • Website refers to RomanceScamsNOW.com, accessible from https://romancescamsnow.com

Website Disclaimer

The information contained on this website is for general information purposes only.

The Company assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents of the Service.

In no event shall the Company be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Service or the contents of the Service. The Company reserves the right to make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on the Service at any time without prior notice.

The Company does not warrant this website in any way.

External Links Disclaimer

This website may contain links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or in any way affiliated with the Company.

Please note that the Company does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information on these external websites.

Errors and Omissions Disclaimer

The information given by SCARS is for general guidance on matters of interest only. Even if the Company takes every precaution to ensure that the content of this website is both current and accurate, errors can occur. Plus, given the changing nature of laws, rules, and regulations, there may be delays, omissions, or inaccuracies in the information contained on this website.

SCARS is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.

Fair Use Disclaimer

SCARS may use copyrighted material that has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Company is making such material available for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

The Company believes this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the United States Copyright law.

If You wish to use copyrighted material from this website for your own purposes that go beyond fair use, You must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Views Expressed Disclaimer

The Service may contain views and opinions which are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other author, agency, organization, employer, or company, including SCARS.

Comments published by users are their sole responsibility and the users will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The Company is not liable for any comment published by users and reserves the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever.

No Responsibility Disclaimer

The information on the Service is provided with the understanding that the Company is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, medical or mental health, or other professional advice and services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting, tax, legal, medical or mental health, or other competent advisers.

In no event shall the Company, its team, board of directors, volunteers, or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever arising out of or in connection with your access or use or inability to access or use the Service.

“Use at Your Own Risk” Disclaimer

All information on this website is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

SCARS will not be liable to You or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information given by the Service or for any consequential, special, or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Disclaimer, You can contact Us:

  • By email: contact@AgainstScams.org

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

SCARS IS A DIGITAL PUBLISHER AND DOES NOT OFFER HEALTH OR MEDICAL ADVICE, LEGAL ADVICE, FINANCIAL ADVICE, OR SERVICES THAT SCARS IS NOT LICENSED OR REGISTERED TO PERFORM.

IF YOU’RE FACING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES IMMEDIATELY, OR VISIT THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE FOLLOWING ANY MEDICALLY RELATED INFORMATION PRESENTED ON OUR PAGES.

ALWAYS CONSULT A LICENSED ATTORNEY FOR ANY ADVICE REGARDING LEGAL MATTERS.

A LICENSED FINANCIAL OR TAX PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE CONSULTED BEFORE ACTING ON ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES OR TAX RELATED ISSUES AND INFORMATION.

SCARS IS NOT A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR – WE DO NOT PROVIDE INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS OR BUSINESSES. ANY INVESTIGATIONS THAT SCARS MAY PERFORM IS NOT A SERVICE PROVIDED TO THIRD-PARTIES. INFORMATION REPORTED TO SCARS MAY BE FORWARDED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AS SCARS SEE FIT AND APPROPRIATE.

This content and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or financial advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for licensed or regulated professional advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider, lawyer, financial, or tax professional with any questions you may have regarding the educational information contained herein. SCARS makes no guarantees about the efficacy of information described on or in SCARS’ Content. The information contained is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible situations or effects. SCARS does not recommend or endorse any specific professional or care provider, product, service, or other information that may be mentioned in SCARS’ websites, apps, and Content unless explicitly identified as such.

The disclaimers herein are provided on this page for ease of reference. These disclaimers supplement and are a part of SCARS’ website’s Terms of Use. 

All original content is Copyright © 1991 – 2023 Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. (Registered D.B.A SCARS) All Rights Reserved Worldwide & Webwide. Third-party copyrights acknowledge.

U.S. State of Florida Registration Nonprofit (Not for Profit) #N20000011978 [SCARS DBA Registered #G20000137918] – Learn more at www.AgainstScams.org

View the claimed and or registered indicia, service marks, and trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc., All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Contact the law firm for the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated by email at legal@AgainstScams.org

Share This Information - Choose Your Social Media!

Please Leave A Comment - Tell Us What You Think About This!