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TikTok prank based on real fraud scheme: How cybercriminals convince victims to call them

July 18, 2022 2:17 p.m.

On TikTok, a prank where people call their friends using an automated answering machine voice to tell them that a large amount of money is about to be debited from their account is gaining popularity. Kaspersky experts warn that this trend is a real fraud scheme, called vishing, and is actively used by cybercriminals. 

Kaspersky researchers detected an increase in the number of vishing emails in June (almost 100,000 total) and collected approximately 350,000 vishing emails between March and June 2022. They also explained how vishing works and how to avoid falling into this trap of cybercriminals.

Vishing (short for voice phishing) is the fraudulent practice of convincing individuals to call cybercriminals and reveal personal information and bank details over the phone. Like most phishing schemes, it starts with an unusual e-mail from a large online store or a payment system. For example, it could be a letter from a fake version of PayPal telling you that they have just received a request to withdraw a large amount of money from your account. 

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Fake notification from PayPal about a purchase for a large amount of money

But here’s the difference: while regular phishing emails ask the victim to follow a link to cancel the order, vishing emails ask that they urgently call the customer support number provided in the email.

Kaspersky experts emphasize that this method was intentionally chosen by cybercriminals because when people look at a phishing site, they have the time to think about their actions or notice signs that the page is not legitimate. But when victims talk on the phone, they are usually distracted and find it more difficult to focus. 

Under these circumstances, attackers do everything they can to further throw them off balance: rushing them, intimidating them, and demanding that they urgently provide their credit card details to cancel the supposed fraudulent transaction. After gaining the victim’s bank account details, cybercriminals use the information to steal their money, leaving the victim with an empty wallet.

Kaspersky experts highlight that in the last four months (from March to June 2022) they have detected almost 350,000 vishing emails, asking victims to call in and cancel a transaction. In June, the number of such emails increased, reaching nearly 100,000, leading Kaspersky researchers to predict that this trend is only gaining momentum and is likely to continue growing.

Number of detected emails with vishing, March — June 2022

Curiously, TikTokers actively repeat one of the vishing schemes, with the only difference being that they do not send a fraudulent email in advance, nor do they steal anything from their victims – their goal is a show, not money. 

The call is conducted through an answering machine, whose voice is generated with an online translator. Most often, pranksters introduce themselves as a representative from the customer service department of a large online store, claiming they have just received an order from the victim for several thousand dollars and asking for their confirmation. No matter how the victim replies, the next thing the answering machine says is, “Thank you, your order has been confirmed.” People think the answering machine misheard them and that the funds are going to be withdrawn from their account immediately, so they panic, scream, and don’t realize that they are being pranked.

When people are convinced to disclose their personal data during a phone call rather than on a phishing page, they often don’t have the chance to consider that they are the target of a hoax – and a large number of TikTok videos with this prank are a prominent example of this.

“I often come across videos on TikTok of bloggers pranking other people by calling them and telling them that their account is about to be debited thousands of dollars. The victims believe it and go crazy over it. When you look at these videos on your phone you think, “How can anyone fall for such a thing?” But when people encounter scam calls in real life, they are often affected by multiple circumstances at the same time. Such a call can catch them off guard, while their head is full of other things and they can’t clearly assess who is on the other end of the call – a prankster, a fraudster or a real bank security specialist,” comments Roman Dedenok, security expert at Kaspersky.

Read about other popular methods of email fraud in the full report on Securelist.

To protect yourself from vishing, Kaspersky recommends:

  • Checking the sender’s address. Most spam emails come from addresses that don’t make sense or appear as gibberish, for example, amazondeals@tX94002222aitx2.com or something similar. By hovering over the sender’s name, which itself may be spelled incorrectly, you can see the full email address. If you’re not sure if an email address is legitimate or not, you can put it into a search engine to check.
  • Considering what kind of information is being requested. Legitimate companies don’t contact you out of the blue via unsolicited emails to ask you for personal information, such as banking or credit card details, your Social Security number or other sensitive data. In general, unsolicited messages telling you to “verify account details” or “update your account information” should be treated with caution.
  • Being wary if the message is creating a sense of urgency. Spammers often try to apply pressure by using this tactic. For example, the subject line may contain words like “urgent” or “immediate action required” to pressure you into acting.
  • Checking for grammar and spelling is an effective way to identify a scammer. Typos and bad grammar are red flags. So too are odd phrasing or unusual syntax, which might result from the email being translated back and forth through translators several times.
  • Installing a trusted security solution and following its recommendations. The secure solution will then solve most problems automatically and alert you if necessary.

NEWS

Atayde backs PH Olympic fencer, QC fencing development program

4:11 p.m. May 21, 2024

QUEZON City 1st District Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde last week pledged to back QCSEP, a Quezon City fencing program responsible for producing one of the Filipino athletes going to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Atayde, a member of the Youth Sports Development Committee in the House of Representatives, said “fencing is one of the many sports that young Filipino athletes can excel in, and we are working with Councilor Joseph Juico so that we can help QCSEP better develop Filipino fencers who can compete not only in local tournaments, but also in international competitions.”

Atayde commended QCSEP for producing a Filipino fencer slated to represent the country in the 2024 Paris Olympics — 22-year-old Barangay Del Monte resident Samantha Kyle Catantan.  

Catantan qualified for the Paris Olympics after winning the gold in the women’s foil event at the Asia-Oceania Zonal Olympic Qualifier last July in the United Arab Emirates. She is the first Filipino fencer to qualify for the summer games since Walter Torres in 1988. 

“QCSEP deserves credit for developing world-class fencers like our very own Samantha Catantan,” said Atayde. “Her qualifying for the Olympics is proof that we should invest time and resources in fencing, which is why we plan to provide support for this sport in our district, and later on the entire Quezon City.”

Atayde stressed that support for sports programs is necessary “if we want to help Filipino athletes achieve their dreams of competing in the Olympics.”

Atayde met Juico, the young fencers of QCSEP, and their parents on May 17 at the legislator’s district office in West Avenue, Quezon City to discuss ways to help and to develop fencers not only from their district, but also cities from all over Metro Manila. 

“It’s great to know that there’s a grassroots sports program for fencing in Quezon City that develops and nurtures kids from all over Metro Manila. With enough helping hands, QCSEP can produce fencers who can excel in the sport and one day win a medal for our country in the Olympics,” said Atayde, who extended financial support for the team’s ongoing programs.

QCSEP Fencing is a program spearheaded by longtime QC 1st District Councilor Juico. It was established 18 years ago and is an active advocate of grassroots sports development.

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Activision brings Call of Duty Warzone Mobile to the court with unique basketball collaboration

5:09 p.m. May 19, 2024

Activision has made an exciting move with its latest Call of Duty Warzone Mobile campaign, seamlessly integrating the world of basketball to create real connections within the community. By combining the strategic elements of basketball with the intense gameplay of Warzone Mobile, Activision highlights how teamwork and quick thinking dominate in both arenas.

In a creative collaboration with Jappy Agoncillo, a renowned muralist, illustrator, and devoted COD fan, Activision has transformed a basketball court at SV Ball Park in New Manila, Quezon City into a vibrant, Warzone-themed masterpiece. This unique project not only showcases Agoncillo’s artistic talent but also underscores the synergy between the worlds of basketball and gaming.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the CODWZM Basketball Court Takeover, check out this video.

Filipinos’ passion for basketball is well-known, with the sport deeply ingrained in the nation’s culture. This collaboration taps into that love, creating a space where fans of both basketball and Call of Duty can come together. Watch how PBA Moto Club, Eruption, Jappy Agoncillo, and Honeycomb Arts brought this project to life in this special feature

Visit the Court:

  • Location: SV Ball Park, New Manila, Quezon City
  • Visiting Hours: Fridays through Sundays from 1 PM to 5 PM
  • Duration: May 16 to July 1, 2024

Basketball and Call of Duty Warzone enthusiasts are invited to experience this one-of-a-kind court, which will be open to the public during the above specified hours to ensure better accommodation and avoid overlapping with regular league games.

Visitors can enjoy the artwork, play basketball, and immerse themselves in the dynamic atmosphere that brings Warzone Mobile’s intensity to life.

Don’t miss out on this exciting blend of art, sports, and gaming. Swing by SV Ball Park and be part of

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“Priceless” Nino Muhlach FAMAS trophy sold to Boss Toyo 

12:59 p.m. May 15, 2024

Entrepreneur and child actor Nino Muhlach gave Boss Toyo one of his prized awards from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) in exchange for P500,000.

But Boss Toyo reiterated that Muhlach’s award is “priceless” and will become part of his future museum. 

In an episode of Pinoy Pawnstars last Monday, Boss Toyo haggled with Muhlach, who personally visited the content creator’s shop in Quezon City to personally give one of his five FAMAS awards and make it as part of his collection.

“Aalagaan mo ‘yan, irerestore mo yan [Take care of that, restore it],” Muhlach told Boss Toyo. 

Boss Toyo said that he wants to restore the award, one of Muhlach’s five FAMAS awards to its former glory and showcase it in his planned museum alongside the award that Jiro Manio sold to Boss Toyo a few months ago. 

Muhlach said that it was Toyo who personally inquired about the award and decided to sell to the content creator one of the five Best Child Performer awards that he received in his career. 

“I decided to give it to him, pero big deal, kailangan alagaan niya and irestore niya and ilagay niya sa museum niya, dahil hindi ko na naalagaan, ‘yun ang deal namin [I decided to give it to him, but big deal because he needs to take care of it seriously, restore it and put it in his museum because I never take care of it. That’s our deal],” Muhlach said.

Boss Toyo said that Nino Muhlach’s FAMAS award is one of his dream items as he wants to note how Muhlach changed Filipino entertainment through his movies with noted Filipino actors such as the King of Filipino movies and legends such as Fernando Poe Jr. and Dolphy. 

“Ikaw ang barometer, ‘pag sinabing ‘child actor’, tandaan natin, wala pa akong nakitang nakadaig sayo as a child actor [You are the barometer of a ‘child actor’ because we have to remember nobody does it better than you],” Toyo said. 

Apart from the award, Muhlach gave to Boss Toyo some of the theater lobby cards from the movies he starred in and produced. 

Aside from acting, Muhlach also dabbled in several businesses, including the El Nino Apartments and Muhlach Ensaymada, which was gifted to Boss Toyo.

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