Bank accounts drained by impersonators

By Quynh Trang   November 28, 2023 | 06:16 pm PT
Bank accounts drained by impersonators
A person makes a phone call. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy
Some bank customers have seen their accounts drained minutes after being directed on the phone to download a fake app by a government impersonator.

Nguyen Thu Hien in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month received a call from someone who claimed to be a ward official who wanted to verify her personal information.

She had no suspicion as the person was able to provide all information on her ID card.

She was asked to download a smartphone app in a .gov link to confirm her identity with the authorities.

Hien then made a donation to a government fund as instructed. An hour later she found out that VND20 million ($825) in her bank account had been withdrawn in four transactions.

The police have received reports of many similar cases of fraud recently as the Vietnamese government has been asking its citizens to confirm their personal information on an online database as the country seeks to speed up digital transformation.

Fraudsters have been posing as government officials and ask their victims to access a link to install a smartphone app that has the logo of the real app developed by the government.

The fake app contains malware that collects the victims’ data, including their bank accounts, and allows the fraudsters to take control of the accounts.

In July, a bank customer in Da Nang City lost over VND5 billion after installing an app called "security software" with the logo of the Ministry of Public Security.

The fraudster threatened her by accusing her of money laundry and drug trafficking and asked her to install the app.

Several banks have warned their customers of these frauds.

Vo Do Thang, director of Athena Cyber Security and Risk Warning Center, said that smartphone users should not install apps via unverified phone contacts and should not click on unusual links.

Installing additional security tools is also helpful, he added.

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