Our mobile phones are becoming increasingly important for scammers. Here are some scam trends we should look out for.
– Everyone has their mobile phone with them everywhere. It also makes it easier to be a scammer, points out Øivind Kristiansen. He is a security expert at Telia. Kristiansen follows the fraud trends and tries to stop the fraud attempts.
Bank information. Username and password. Personal documents stored in cloud services. More and more personal information is available on our mobile phones. Therefore, scammers will reach us via mobile.
New variant of hyperactive virus
The aggressive flubot virus ensured that very many Norwegians were exposed to attempted fraud by SMS in the period before Christmas.
The virus affects Android phones. The messages contain links to download an app, which contains the virus.
Those who install the app are asked to give the app rights that in practice give the scammer control over the phone. Iphone users are sent to a page where they are asked to log in and enter information – this is called phishing.
Infected phones spew out text messages.
Stopped 180,000 text messages every day
– We have blocked the sending of SMSs that contain links for over 1300 subscribers, says Øivind Kristiansen, security expert at Telia.
Some days this week, they stopped 180,000 text messages from these phones. There is reason to believe that the perpetrators extract information from the phones that have been infected with the virus.
Last year, there were especially text messages informing them that a package was on its way. This year there is a new, old twist: Messages that a video of you has been spread and that you have to go in and watch it. Many people remember that these went like a plague on Messenger a few years ago.
– Scammers play on curiosity. The messages state that you need to download Flashplayer to watch the video. It is a program that many recognize, but it is no longer used, explains Øivind Kristiansen.
Clicking on the link will take you to a page where you will download an app called Flashplayer. But it’s really the virus.
So-called investment fraud is known to many from fake online newspaper sites.
There are apparently articles from well-known Norwegian media houses that say that very famous Norwegians have been on a talk show and told about how much they have earned on an investment, preferably a product associated with bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
The scammers try to appeal to people who have read about large earnings on cryptocurrency, but have no idea how to buy it themselves.
Kristiansen says that similar scams also happen via phone calls and SMS.
– We believe, among other things, that there is an environment in Norway that misuses our prepaid cards for this. You need a social security number to register a prepaid card in Norway, but it can come from ID theft. We also suspect that people who go on the scams are abused. They have then gladly given their social security number, and then it is used to buy a prepaid card, Kristiansen says.
In these cases, Norwegians are contacted by phone, preferably in Norwegian or English.
Pretends to call from a Norwegian number
Another phenomenon is so-called “spoofing”. This is when the scammers give the wrong phone number when they call. It obviously looks most credible when the number is Norwegian.
– In the past, scammers often used one number for a long time. Now they change numbers often. Then it is more difficult to catch that something illegal is happening, says Kristiansen.
Targeted use of actual numbers is also a recent trend:
– Now we see that fraudsters actually find the number of, for example, a Norwegian bank and use it. Something strange we saw so much of the other day was that it was apparently called from Norwegian telephone numbers – but they had nine digits instead of eight, says Øivind Kristiansen.
In both investment fraud and spoofing, fraudsters use so-called social manipulation to trick victims into paying for services that do not exist.