CHARLOTTE — Action 9’s Jason Stoogenke was investigating three scams recently when he noticed they had something in common. It was something he hadn’t encountered before. All three victims or potential victims said the scammer wanted them to download certain software, called AnyDesk.
AnyDesk is a legitimate software program that allows someone to take control of your computer if you need help with a technology problem.
Scammers know this.
In July, a Channel 9 viewer emailed Stoogenke about a scammer purporting to sell a truck engine. The viewer said that the person wanted her to download AnyDesk.
A few weeks later, Karla Timpani told Stoogenke about a scam she fell for, one involving gift cards. “And then it starts telling me to do all these steps on my computer, and one of them was to go to AnyDesk,” she said. “And I didn’t know that that was going to give him remote access to my computer, but he did.”
Timpani said the person was able to access his bank account, which led to a larger scheme that ended up costing him $23,000.
A few weeks after that, Stoogenke was contacted by Jamie Sparks about an online return scam. The scammer asked you to download AnyDesk.
“The app said ‘remote control.’ That stuck with me because I thought something was wrong,” she said.
Fortunately, she was not fooled and hung up on the person.
“He could have gotten into a lot of mischief,” he added.
AnyDesk is aware of the problem. It even has a warning for people using its product.
The company emailed Stoogenke:
“Misusing our platform and other remote platforms in this way is immoral and unacceptable. Millions of professionals around the world depend on AnyDesk to securely connect to work computers and help with technical issues. We are committed to doing everything in our power to help put an end to these scams.
“The danger of misuse is why we encourage and warn users after downloading AnyDesk to never share information with anyone they don’t know or trust. Each user has access to AnyDesk resources to prevent fraud attempts along with a real-time reporting system handled by a support team. Users must authorize all connection requests before granting access to their device. All sessions use military-grade encryption among other security measures.”
AnyDesk advises its users to follow three basic rules:
1. Never give access to your devices to anyone you don’t know.
2. Never share online banking login information or passwords with anyone.
3. Beware if the support center of a large technology corporation unexpectedly contacts you and offers help with technical problems.
“We will continue to do everything we can to combat remote desktop software abuse on our own platform and in the industry as a whole.”
Stoogenke said that even if a scammer asks you to download AnyDesk and you do, that person still needs your permission (a certain code) to use it. Whatever you do, don’t share it.
(Watch below: Indian Trail woman says she was swindled out of $23,000)
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