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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 1: Attempts at electronic fraud have reached the extent of using clothes that are similar to those belonging to security institutions and making video calls to the victims to convince them of the seriousness of the matter when requesting for bank data under the claim of protecting them from attempts to rob money from their bank accounts, reports Al-Qabas daily. Head of the Kuwait Society for Information Security Dr. Safaa Zaman warned of the apparent increase in fraud operations to steal from bank accounts. She explained that the society, during the last two months, monitored about 200 phone numbers that use programs to appear as local numbers. Through these calls, the victims are contacted and trapped in the ropes of swindlers.
Of late, fraud attempts per month have significantly increased. Swindlers devise many new tricks to entrap their victims and seize their bank balances. This type of fraud has been active in the recent period amid continuous warnings from experts and security officials of the consequences of falling into the trap of these gangs. Some of those who were subjected to these attempts recounted to the daily that they received calls from seemingly local numbers on Monday, and were asked for a copy of the civil card and bank account, with the aim to protect their accounts from a hacking attempt. The caller referred them to a person who said he was his official. He appeared via video call wearing a uniform similar to those of police officers, and claimed to be a security officer. The alleged officer then stressed the need to provide the employee with the data immediately; otherwise the account holder would be held accountable, a process that some victims confirmed was completely untrue after they visited their bank
Dr. Safaa Zaman, stressed that what is happening is nothing but new fraud methods known as “social engineering”, through which the available simple data is exploited to obtain sensitive data in unofficial ways. She explained that the simple data may be the phone number or preliminary data about the victim through his account on Twitter or Facebook, after which a call is made to him by someone impersonating a security officer, or an email is sent to him. The swindlers exploit loopholes in human beings such as greed, fear and curiosity, including sending a message “Your husband is cheating on you” to wives to lure them into opening links through which their data is stolen.
In the last two months, the society monitored more than 200 suspicious phone numbers, some of which are false numbers that use programs to appear local, and others follow people who left Kuwait permanently. These are numbers through which victims are contacted and trapped in the ropes of swindlers. Dr. Zaman stressed that fraud attempts have reached huge numbers each month during the recent period, warning that electronic fraud is increasing with professional methods. She said sensitive data is only requested through official methods, represented by an official letter from the bank or the presence of the data owner himself in the bank, adding that all electronic methods are informal means of requesting data, and the one requesting must not be obeyed.
Dr. Zaman indicated that technical developments contributed to the development of means of social engineering or fraud, including the promise of certain gifts to the victims when opening the link or requesting to fill out a questionnaire. Its danger lies in the difficulty of combating it by traditional methods, in addition to the legislative shortcomings in confronting it, as some crimes in which telephone communications are used to seize thousands of dinars are classified as a crime of “misuse of the phone” despite the great damage caused.
Exploitation of loopholes Dr. Safaa Zaman said that swindlers use websites through which the code of any country is used to make the call appear to be local or international as the fraudster wants. Obstacles to combating the phenomenon
■ Legislative shortcomings in confronting it
■ Difficulty fighting it with traditional methods
■ Classifying some of them as “phone misuse” Characteristics of an impostor
■ Speaks quickly
■ Tends to frighten the victim
■ Doesn’t respond when asked for his data