Cracking down on phishing

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Cracking down on phishing

The Chinese police announced that 235 members — including 51 Koreans — of a voice phishing network were arrested in five provinces of China last week. It is a notable triumph since Korean police and prosecutors have been collaborating with the Chinese authorities to apprehend the criminals.

According the Chinese police, the voice phishing ring has made more than 1,200 calls and snatched over 100 million yuan (18 billion won).

The group reportedly hired Koreans and Chinese who are fluent in Korean to make random calls pretending to be investigators of financial transactions. They requested personal information from their victims by claiming that their accounts had been used for money laundering.

The fact that a three-month joint investigation of the voice phishing networks led to a crackdown on such a large crime ring means that voice phishing has become an even bigger problem than we originally suspected. There were more than 8,000 voice phishing cases in Korea last year alone involving as much as 100 billion won in total. This year, 2,485 cases resulted in 27.4 billion won in damage as of late April.

Under the circumstances, Korean police expect that active investigations by Chinese police would discourage further voice phishing. However, the crime rings are just using more sophisisticated techniques, even using phishing Web sites that are incredibly similar to real Korean bank Web sites.

These phishing site crimes, which trick customers into sharing personal information, are on the rise, from 489 cases in February to 1,210 cases in April. The Chinese authorities explain that as control is tightened in mainland China, voice phishing networks are rapidly moving their bases to Taiwan and Thailand instead.

In response, the government and police need to thoroughly trace the movements of the voice phishing rings and extend investigative cooperation to Taiwan and Thailand.

Moreover, phone calls made from abroad using our government agencies’ phone numbers should be automatically blocked, and the spoofing of Internet caller ID should be prohibited completely to prevent voice phishing rings from doing their business.

Voice phishing is a vicious virus fanning social distrust and preying on hard-working citizens. Until the voice phishing crimes are completely eradicated, authorities must crack down on these crimes without rest.

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