Move aside spoofed email, scammers have now turned to mobile phones as an extremely effective way to scam unsuspecting users out of their personal banking details – as well as their hard earned money.
Over the last couple of months, we have been receiving quite a number of complaints of banking customers getting calls from what would seem to be genuine bank call centers numbers – and be greeted with an automated voice message.
The message would greet the user with a name of the bank, and inform the ‘customer’ that they have a pending credit card charge anywhere from RM3,000 – RM4,000, and they will need to authorize the transaction by pressing a key on the phone. Alternatively, they could press 0 to speak to a customer service office.
Sensing something amiss, most would press 0 and this will then route the call to a ‘friendly’ (but not too English savvy) customer service office who will then proceed to gather as much information as possible from the victim pretending to be a bank officer.
The biggest issue with these calls is that if you checked the number of the caller, there is no possible way to detect it to not be from the bank. If you have saved your bank’s number on your contact list, it will appear just as if your bank is calling you.
The calls are placed via a spoofed VOIP connection, and right now, there isn’t any easy way to differentiate between a legitimate call and a fake one.
These scammers have also probably gotten an outdated list of bank customers to target, as almost all the calls that we have received, and even those who have reported the calls in, have confirmed that they actually have an account with the bank that the calls are purported to originate from – making the scam even more effective against the potential victims.
From our checks, Maybank, CIMB Bank, Public Bank as well as Hong Leong Bank users have all reported receiving suspicious calls from numbers which are spoofed to look like its coming from their banks.
The best defense at the moment is to hang up on the call, and call back the number – which will then connect you to the actual number, and then proceed to check with the bank if there was any need for them to contact you.
The modus operandi will change from time to time, so if you’ve received a suspicious call, please share it in the comment box below and we will update the article with more details.
Confirmed list of numbers that have been used so far.
+603-21766000 Public Bank
+603-76268899 Hong Leong Bank