Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke was investigating three scams recently when he noticed they had something in common. It was something he hadn’t come across before. All three victims or would-be victims said the scammer wanted them to download a 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 issue.
Scammers know this.
In July, a Channel 9 viewer emailed Stoogenke about a scammer pretending to sell a truck engine. The viewer said the person wanted her to download AnyDesk.
A few weeks later, Karla Timpani was telling Stoogenke about a scam she fell for, one involving gift cards. “And then he 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 it did.”
Timpani said the person was able to access her bank account, which led to a bigger scheme that ended up costing her $23,000.
A few weeks after that, Jamie Sparks contacted Stoogenke about a scam involving an online return. The scammer asked her to download AnyDesk.
“The app said ‘remote control.’ That just stuck with me because I thought something’s wrong,” she said.
Luckily, she didn’t fall for it, and she hung up on the person.
“He could’ve gotten into a lot of mischief,” she 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 worldwide 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 end these scams.
“The danger of misuse is why we encourage and warn users after downloading AnyDesk to never share information with anyone they do not know or trust. Every user has access to AnyDesk’s resources to avoid fraud attempts along with a real-time reporting system manned by a support team. Users must authorize all connection requests before granting access to their device. All sessions utilize military-level encryption among other security measures.”
AnyDesk advises its users to follow three basic rules:
1. Never give anyone you don’t know access to your devices.
2. Never share online banking login information or passwords with anyone.
3. Be cautious if you are contacted unexpectedly by the support center of a big technology corporation offering help with technical issues
“We will continue to make every effort to combat the misuse of remote desktop software on our own platform and the industry as a whole.”
Stoogenke said 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, do not share it.
If you download the app and give the scammer access to your device:
Report the scam to your account providers (your bank, online payment systems, etc.)
Change the passwords to the accounts that may have been compromised.
Have an IT specialist check your device.
Report the scam to local authorities.
If you have experienced any scamming yourself or know of a scammer misusing the AnyDesk software, you can report the issue here.
You can find more information about AnyDesk’s abuse prevention here.
(Watch below: Indian Trail woman says she was scammed out of $23,000)