In the digital age, cyber attacks are becoming an increasingly serious threat. With each passing year, not only their number increases, but also the sophistication that online fraudsters put into new tricks.
From fraudulent advertisements in broken Czech, fraudsters have moved on to more subtle ways to make money from a user’s mistake. Today, hackers no longer need to contact the victim directly, they just need to prepare a credible website, advertise an investment with an astronomical profit and wait.
“Investment fraud is currently one of the most common and most dangerous types of fraud practiced by cyber fraudsters. One of the main accompanying elements of these frauds is the connection of a fraudulent offer with the name of a well-known personality or company,” confirms Petr Milata, spokesperson for insurance and cyber prevention at ČSOB, adding that even the name of their bank has already been misused in this way in the past.
In this case, the fraudsters lured you to buy the bank’s shares. At the same time, the bank itself was not traded on the stock exchange.
However, ČSOB was far from the only one to encounter investment frauds abusing well-known names. In February of this year, attackers similarly tried to lure money from Internet users for an offer to invest in shares and cryptocurrencies of the energy company ČEZ.
“The ČEZ Group has nothing to do with advertisements regarding allegedly advantageous investment products. We have never offered or offer any such product. This is a clear fraud that abuses the good name of the ČEZ Group,” responds Barbora Peterová, ČEZ press spokesperson.
There are hundreds of thousands in the game
According to Petr Milata from ČSOB, in the case of investment fraud, people most often lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In addition, the number of fake investment opportunities has been increasing in recent months. “We do not publish exact numbers, but we can confirm an increasing trend in practically all types of fraud,” says a bank spokesperson.
At the same time, protection against all types of online fraud is important. Most often, online attackers win over victims through their own fault. They voluntarily send sensitive data.
Especially in the case of fraudulent investments, for which fraudsters often create fake websites, users send their personal data to the attackers themselves. They send, for example, their phone number through a web form, through which the attacker subtly describes instructions on how to best earn on the investment.
“Any attempt at fraud can be prevented, but the key is always for the client to recognize it in time and contact their bank, which will help them with everything,” adds the ČSOB spokesperson.
Ad blocking and criminal reports
The affected companies, whose names are targeted by fraudsters, are also trying to lead the fight against fraudulent investments themselves.
“We are in contact with the operators of social networks where these fraudulent ads are most often displayed, we alert them to the ads, and they are taken down and blocked based on our activity. Unfortunately, despite all the steps we are taking, it is a long shot, because the creators and sponsors of these advertisements are practically untraceable,” explains ČEZ spokeswoman Barbora Peterová.
In addition to blocking several hundred of these fraudulent ads, the group also filed several criminal reports with the police.
“Unfortunately, all of them were put down by the police, despite the fact that they also contained specific information such as phone numbers or account numbers used by possible perpetrators,” adds a spokesperson for the energy group.
According to the estimates of security experts, this year will be a record year in terms of both attempts and reported crimes in cyberspace.
“Based on current developments, we predict that by the end of the year, the number of crimes in cyberspace could exceed 20,000,” estimates Martin Vondrášek, police president of the PČR.
Fraudulent online offers that try to extort personal information from users, lure them for finances or access to their banking are also absolutely leading compared to other crimes in cyberspace. Last year they made up more than half.
You can familiarize yourself with the most common fraudulent attacks below.
The most common fraudulent attacks in the online environment:
1) Fraudulent phone calls about hacking a bank account
In a fraudulent phone call, the perpetrator impersonates your banker, who, due to the attack on your account, forces you to transfer funds to a “secure” account or to deposit money in cash into a virtual currency deposit machine.
2) Enabling remote access to your device
The perpetrator tries to trick you into accessing your mobile phone or computer under various legends. It tricks you into installing remote access software with one goal in mind. Get into your banking remotely and steal all your savings, including loan funds, which they will charge you after gaining access.
3) Sales on advertising servers
The offender will respond to your ad with an interest in the goods you want to sell. In order to speed up and simplify the transaction, the fake applicant tries to convince you to enter sensitive data about your banking in a payment gateway that may seem genuine at first glance. He will then misuse your shared data. These are primarily your card number, expiration date, CVV/CVC code and PIN.
4) Fraudulent phishing campaigns via SMS messages, e-mails or social networks
Every day, criminals send out a large number of fraudulent e-mails, SMS messages or messages via social networks and try to lure you into various legends. Often this is the security of your accounts, shipment of goods, tax overpayment or underpayment, security updates, etc.
5) A friend writes via social networks because he lost your phone number
The perpetrator contacts you on behalf of your friend or directly from your friend’s profile. He often asks for your phone number, either he lost it, or he entered you in a contest, or he sends you some kind of benefit. It will then ask you to send a verification code to complete the transaction. The code will abuse and rob you on mobile payments, or abuse your social network profile to send fraudulent messages to your friends as well.
6) Request to transfer money through your bank account
An offer of a profitable part-time job, an attempt to help a friend or your carelessness can allow criminals to transfer funds from various frauds through your account. Offenders often offer various options for extra income that at first glance appear to be completely legal.
7) Get rich miraculously through profitable investments
Are you interested in an advertisement for a profitable and completely safe investment with an almost astronomical profit? Did well-known personalities who confirm the profitability of the investment in their comments get rich this way? This is usually a scam. Fake investors primarily want to rob you of the amount you send them yourself, or they want to get into your device via remote access and gain access to your banking, where they will make the transfers themselves.
8) Scams based on love and get-rich-quick
Criminals usually contact you through dating sites under different identities (eg US soldier, airman, doctor, oil rig worker, lawyer) and try to manipulate you. Scams are often based on sending some valuable shipment (gold treasure, windfall, inheritance money, etc.). There’s always a snag along the way, which you have to clear by paying a fee that gradually climbs up to millions that you’ll never see again.
You can test your knowledge of the basic principles of safe behavior on the Internet in an online interactive cyber test launched by the Czech Banking Association as part of an educational campaign.
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