Identity theft rises as fraudsters find new ways to deceive clients

August 8, 2022 | 10:26 am GMT+7

Identity theft is not a new crime in the financial and banking scene, but insiders said a new twist on an old problem that banks and clients should worry about, exposes the need for heightened cybersecurity.


Identity theft is not a new crime in the financial and banking scene, but insiders said a new twist on an old problem that banks and clients should worry about, exposes the need for heightened cybersecurity.

Truong Duc Luong, Chairman of the Vietnam Network Security JSC, revealed that dangerous actors could use SEO (search engine optimisation) to improve their websites' ranking in search results when people look up information online.

The better visibility the websites have in search engines, the more likely that they garner more clicks and attract more prospective victims. Once visitors click on the websites, they are vulnerable to malicious schemes resulting in financial loss and identity theft.

Another tactic is using the online ads network to spread malicious links. Gullible users clicking on the links have their browsers hijacked by fake warnings. They fall victim to various scams if they follow the links' instructions.

The chairman urged banks to use brand-listening tools to analyse public opinion about their brands on social media, whereby they could track down malicious websites imitating their official ones.

Informative campaigns could also be launched to keep bank clients well-informed about identity theft and increase their vigilance against suspicious websites.

Ngo Tuan Anh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Information Security Association, said that cyber-criminals normally transfer their scammed money to various bank accounts and use it to buy cryptocurrencies to hide the trail.

Once the money has been laundered into cryptocurrencies, the damage is done, and it is difficult to recuperate the loss. Hence, scam victims must report their cases to banks as quickly as possible to prevent further loss and maximise recovered money.

"We should develop a mechanism that allows instant reports to help scam victims get back their money as much as possible," he said.

Van Anh Tuan, senior manager of the Information Security Administration at Techcombank, claimed that banks have been investing massively in cybersecurity to prevent impersonation and have had success.

In the past, fraudsters could easily impersonate someone and steal money from their bank accounts once they got their username, password and OTP code.

It is no longer the case now, as bank clients will receive warnings from security systems when fraudsters try to access their bank accounts via an unknown device, adding another layer of security to banking transactions.

The manager gave some tips to help bank clients stay ahead of scammers. Clients should search for unknown phone numbers on Google. If a phone number claims to be of a bank employee, ask for credentials. A good Google search sometimes proves highly effective against impersonators.

Nguyen Thanh Dat, deputy director of the Vietnam Cyberspace Security Technology SJC, remarked that bank clients normally do not know what to do and where to call for help when they fall prey to scams.

For that reason, he suggested an easy-to-memorise hotline number via which scam victims could report their cases to banks and seek assistance from bank staff more efficiently.

"Bank clients should be more cautious online. They should call their banks' customer support centre any time they receive a suspicious request from someone claiming themselves as bank staff," he added./.