Measures to keep online scams in check

October 03, 2023 - 07:34
Online scams in the first six months of 2023 grew by 65 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. Notably, about 13,000 people fell victim to cybercriminals last year.
A consumer in Hà Nội shopping online with her smartphone. Online scams have been on the rise in recent years, exposing the need for more measures to keep the problem in check. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is one of the countries where users upload the largest amount of their personal data to social media platforms, which have been exploited by cybercriminals for various malicious ends.

That remark was made by Nguyễn Hải Nam, Director of Credit 360AI LLC, at the workshop "Avoiding risks when using digital banking services" yesterday.

He said cybercriminals had employed Deepfake AI technology to mine stolen personal data to create footage of their victims' fake facial expressions, which had been used maliciously for various purposes, from impersonation to scam attempts.

"Users are recommended not to reveal their personal information online to avoid data leaks and identity theft," said Nam.

He said Decree No.13 on personal data protection had been introduced to keep the problem under control, and it had achieved some results.

He urged the government to intensify the fight against online scams by keeping a closer watch on data transfer between enterprises to prevent data leaks. He also urged users to be more cautious about data sharing to protect themselves from data theft.

Vũ Ngọc Sơn, Technology Manager of Vietnam National Cyber Security Technology Corporation, said that in Việt Nam, cybercriminals had devised around 20 ways to defraud people online, including identity theft and e-transfer interception.

He cited a victim he knew as an example. The man was so cautious that he bought another smartphone solely for money transfers, in addition to the one for daily phone calls. However, his caution could not save him from malware.

Cybercriminals deceived him into installing malware on his smartphones without his knowledge. With the malware, they took over his banking account and initiated an unauthorised money transfer that he was powerless to stop.

"He took out a loan of VNĐ2 billion (US$82,304) from a bank. When the money was transferred to his account, it was immediately re-transferred to an unknown account without his permission," said Sơn.

But online frauds like that will soon be kept in check thanks to the government's efforts to improve data security. For instance, the Ministry of Information and Communications is working on a plan to phase out the 2G network, a network where authorisation is one-way only, making it conducive to fake SMS.

Đỗ Minh Hoàng, Management Board Member of Agriculture Bank Insurance JSC, said people living in rural areas had always been easy prey to online scams because they lacked experience in navigating online platforms.

"Most of the scams targeting people in rural areas are less than $2,000 in value, low enough not to attract the police's attention," said Hoàng.

He suggested account owners buy insurance packages to guard against potential fraud. In his company, the packages have been available since March.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, online scams in the first six months of 2023 grew by 65 per cent compared with the same period in 2022. Notably, about 13,000 people fell victim to cybercriminals last year. — VNS