Text messages used for identity theft growing

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Text messages used for identity theft growing

The government said Tuesday that it is warning consumers not to loan out their personal identity or open bank accounts through mobile accounts.

The move by the Korea Communications Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service came after illegal text messages offering payments in exchange for bank account information has increased.

Financial institutions, in hoping to curb illegal bank accounts used for criminal purposes, are making it difficult for people to open bank accounts under someone else’s identity. The accounts have been used to transfer and withdraw cash from illegal activities.

Studies analyzing the reports made to the FSS last year showed that criminals mostly use text messages and job sites to find people willing to sell their bank accounts. Some are using social networks such as Facebook.

Text messages, however, still dominate the criminal practice, accounting for 73 percent of reported cases. In fact, when compared to the previous year messages surged 283 percent.

In the first three months, cases involving text messages ballooned 469 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Those who loan their bank account to a third party can face criminal charges that could carry up to three years in prison or fines of up to 20 million won.

BY KO RAN [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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