Families beware: phishing attacks hit as kin travelEmergence of new voice phishing attempts targeting families traveling overseas has led to a police investigation.
The National Police Agency said yesterday it received up to eight reports from different cities nationwide of phone calls to the homes of people who had left for travels abroad. The caller pretended to be an acquaintance or colleague saying that there was an emergency and asking the family members to send money. Voice phishing refers to a criminal practice of taking advantage of either legitimate or illegitimate private information for the purpose of financial reward.
A man who wished only to be identified as Lee, 29, an employee of an IT affiliate of a large enterprise, is among those who reported such a case. The day after he left for Taiwan on a business trip last month, a man called Lee’s home in Seoul and asked his family to send him money, saying he was in a terrible accident on a Taipei street and needed to pay hospital bills immediately.
The perpetrator even let the family hear the voice of Lee crying for help. The caller avoided answering the questions of Lee’s family and only asked for quick cash. Right after hanging up, the family tried to contact Lee on his roaming phone but his phone was turned off. Then they called a colleague who had accompanied him and were told Lee was in a business meeting, safe and sound.
Police said they are trying to track down the source of immigration information, since the phone phishers were aware of the target victim’s destination and date of departure. Voice phishing crimes have thus far been mostly committed by strangers through random phone calls.
“Although it’s possible that the crimes could be perpetuated by an acquaintance, there is the chance that flight information was leaked through travel agencies,” said the police.
As preventive measures, the police advised that people leaving for trips abroad leave emergency contact numbers and that their families ignore phone calls requesting cash transfers.
By Seo Ji-eun [email@example.com]
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