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Beware: New voice phishing scam emerges in UAE

Banks advise customers not to reveal confidential account data to scamsters posing as bank representatives on the phone

Image Credit: File

Dubai: Bankers are warning their customers of a new wave of voice phishing — or ‘vishing’ — a fraudulent means through which confidential data is obtained from bank customers to defraud them.

“The UAE is being targeted by criminals using increasingly sophisticated methods to defraud individuals and companies," RAKBank said in an emailed statement.

"There have been several recent attempts by scammers to get the banking customers’ confidential information through a form of fraud over the phone called ‘voice phishing – vishing scam,” statement added.

'Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails — and now, voice calls — purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details.

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In a typical voice phishing, the scammers would call-up the banking customers pretending to be either bank representatives or any widely known brand representatives, claiming that they have won some prizes or their bank accounts and ATM cards need to be upgraded and updated.

Personal, confidential data

The scammers would then request banking customers to provide their personal and confidential data such as their credit/debit card number, the card’s CVV number, expiry date, digital banking user ID and password, One-Time Password (OTP), and other personal information.

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“In most cases, the scammers sound very professional and provide a convincing reason for calling the banking customers. It’s important to highlight that the bank will never ask its customers to share any type of confidential information over the phone or via email,” RAKBank has warned its customers through SMS.

In recent weeks a number of other banks in the UAE are alerting their customers about such scams asking them to take necessary precautions to protect their online and offline confidential banking information.

Bankers said that since vishing hooks the consumers directly through their phone, whether it's a land line or a mobile phone, it's much harder for the financial institution to detect.

'Vising attacks'

Vishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated and organized. Many fraudsters are understood to be employing criminal hackers with the sophistication of the best penetration testers.

“They are modeling the financial software industry, the security industry, bringing in social psychologists and to look at everything to figure out how to get your client base to fork up data.

"They are very good at it, and they are only going to get better,” said a security expert with a local bank.