How Do Scammers Get Your Information?

Fraudsters cost Malaysians RM 2 billion last year. These ran the gamut of different ways to cheat people with their hard earned money, including cat fishing, Macau scams, and even bogus e-commerce offers.

It’s one thing to become familiar with the types of scams to avoid getting caught up in one. However, these crooks are constantly changing tactics and finding new methods.

However, it is also important to understand how scams work. Although the methods may be different, the underlying methods for attacking humans remain the same. There are many ways that a crook can manipulate people; So it’s just as important to understand what is going on as it is to know what is going on.

How do crooks choose their victims?

While it may seem like the crooks are calling everyone out and hoping for the best, they have a very specific set of victims in mind. After all, smarter people are unlikely to fall for the scam.

In the case of fraudulent emails, this is done by bad grammar and bad spelling. In most cases, you’d assume it’s because criminals aren’t very smart and make glaring mistakes that anyone with half a brain would spot.

However, this Nigerian prince is smarter than you might think. The truth is, scammers don’t want to talk to people who notice minor details. These are the kinds of people who would find out they are getting ripped off and call the police.

Instead, they use bad grammar to target people who may not be very good at their tricks. The types of people who might not notice that the sender of the email is using the wrong address. So always take the time to notice typos and errors in promotional emails and social media posts, especially on behalf of the company.

The scams in Macau take a less sophisticated approach to finding victims, but the premise is the same. Fraudsters contact victims and pretend to belong to a government agency or a bank. Most of these scammers will hang up if the potential victims start asking the right questions, because it is easier to deal with people who are afraid and to respond to their requests.

In other words, scammers have a person in mind and try to avoid those who would try to waste their time.

How do they get your contact details?

Have you ever wondered how crooks always seem to be able to tell you your IC number and home address? This is most likely due to the fact that your personal information has been leaked to cybercriminals and is being sold at a low price.

While it usually doesn’t seem like much, corporate data leaks can have a huge impact on our lives. For example, the biggest data breach in Malaysia several years ago leaked the contact information and IC numbers of more than 46 million people.

What tends to happen in these situations is that the information is then sold to crooks, who then use it to find new victims. Especially those who can believe a caller who has details that may not be public.

How do they hide the stolen money?

The most common scam in Malaysia is to trick people into transferring money to a recipient’s bank account; where he is never seen again. You’ve probably never wondered how this could happen in an age of electronic transactions that record everything.

The truth is, the bank accounts used by the crooks are obtained illegally. Scammers are notorious for using the bank accounts of those who are willing to lease their accounts in exchange for payment to be used as mule bank accounts.

Another method used by crooks is to gain access to stolen accounts. Just like personal information, cybercriminals steal login information from bank accounts and sell it on the black market.

The VPNoverview tech blog, which typically reviews VPN security practices, studied the type of information available for sale online and found that bank details can be purchased for between $ 50 and $ 200 ($ 209 to RM 836). Likewise, bank cards can be purchased for as little as $ 49 (RM 204).

This makes it extremely cheap for crooks to use innocent people as unsuspecting mules for their operations. Once the money is in the mule’s account, it can be withdrawn from an ATM for further laundering.

What can you do?

You should notice a certain trend in the way these scammers operate now. These criminals rely on stolen information, whether to search for victims or to make the scam more convincing.

As such, it is important that you protect your personal information from theft. For one thing, many banks are already using two-factor authentication to secure their accounts. On the other hand, Malaysians are generally very laid back to fill out forms with their own information just to get freebies.

The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 has extremely strict laws for companies that store and collect personal information from the public. However, it’s still your job to make sure that you don’t make it easy for scammers by being reckless.

So next time, think twice if you need that new loyalty card from a company you’ve never heard of; and maybe spend some time making your password harder to guess.

If fewer companies have your information, there is less chance that you will be exposed to a data breach, which reduces the number of scammers who can contact you. At the end of the day, isn’t that all we really want?

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Jothi Venkat

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