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.
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.
100 days to go before world’s best play in front of world’s best fans
May 18, 2023, 2:16 p.m.
In 100 days, the best players from the Philippines and all over the world will converge i Manila for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
The Philippines – and its well-renowned most passionate fans – will play host to the USA and Serbia, as well as Lithuania and Greece, as four of the top ten-ranked teams in the world will be on our shores for the Group Phase in the world meet running from August 25 to September 10. Angola, Dominican Republic, Italy, South Sudan, China, Puerto Rico, Jordan, New Zealand, Egypt, Mexico, and Montenegro round out the visitors who will enjoy Filipino hospitality, with games set to be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
At the same time, Filipinos will grant enviable homecourt advantage to the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team, as the team commences its campaign in the tournament’s first game at th colossal Philippine Arena on August 25.
To mark the countdown and engage the local market in the Philippines, a 100 Days-to-Go TVC will be aired on key channels & social media platforms while LED billboards along key sites in the Metro will also feature materials on display. Features on key news programs and video callouts from local ambassadors of the FIBA Basketball World Cup will also be shown on tv & social media.
This the first time in 45 years that the Philippines is hosting the FIBA Basketball World Cup, albeit alongside Japan and Indonesia, and the co-hosts are promising the most memorable world meet yet.
According to Al S. Panlilio, President of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, “The event will be tremendous – the fan experience will be unprecedented, unmatched in its impact and truly memorable for all.”
Filipinos may very well watch the MVP-caliber play of Serbian Nikola Jokic and Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as a bevy of NBA stars by taking advantage of alreadyavailable tickets with the Follow My Team Passes with access to all preliminary games of your chosen team, the Ultimate Fan & Super Fan passes, which give access to games from the Quarterfinals to the Finals, and the Two-Day Passes, which give fans the chance to watch 4 games on 2 consecutive days.
Single-Day Passes will also be available starting May 25 for basketball fans to get a chance to see their favorite basketball stars up close and personal. Fans can purchase their tickets to the biggest basketball event of the year via philippines.worldcup.basketball.
INC Chronicles reboots visuals to better engage youth, public
May 1, 2023 2:42 p.m.
INC Chronicles, a weekly television feature-documentary that delves into the rich history and community-building efforts of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s various local congregations, has recently undergone tech-driven enhancements to make the show more visually engaging in today’s fast-changing media landscape.
With sharper cinematography, spruced up digital graphics, and creative animation, the re-envisioned program aims to better connect with today’s younger audiences and those yet unfamiliar with the Church’s storied beginnings.
INC Chronicles’ new visually compelling episodes highlight the struggles, lessons, and timeless Christian values that marked the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s formative years in various communities around the Philippines and abroad.
The show seeks to create a deeper appreciation for the Church’s history and how its spiritual and humanitarian activities have been helping drive community growth and empowerment for over a century.
INC Chronicles is broadcast every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. on INCTV, with reruns every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 p.m. It is a co-production of the Christian Era Broadcasting Service International Inc. (CEBSI Inc.), the religious media arm of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, and the INC Museum.
In an interview, INC Museum Director, Cornelio N. Cortez, emphasized the value of chronicling the story of the Iglesia Ni Cristo and expressed gratitude for the Church’s continued growth. “The hand of God is present during all those decades. We are thankful,” he stated.
According to Cortez, the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s dedication to preserving its history and cultural heritage is also reflected in the INC Museum which houses over 17,000 protected catalog items inside temperature-controlled and humidity-monitored rooms.
From its humble beginnings of preaching at riversides and small town houses in the Philippines to becoming a global religious institution, the Iglesia Ni Cristo has millions of members in over 7,000 congregations spread across 164 countries and territories worldwide.
FIBA ambassador Luis Scola, US rapper Saweetie to banner FIBA World Cup Draw 2023
April 24, 2023 3:51 p.m.
The world’s biggest basketball tournament is about to unfold in Manila at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, with basketball legend Luis Scola gracing the much-anticipated draw with performances by American rapper Saweetie, Sarah Geronimo, and Billy Crawford this Saturday, April 29 at the Smart Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
Scola has won multiple medals as a member of the national men’s basketball team of Argentina. He played for Argentina’s national squad from 2001 until 2019, winning two silver medals at the FIBA World Championships, one each in 2002 and during his final tournament in 2019 at the age of 39. During the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship tournament, Scola became the all-time leading scorer in FIBA AmeriCup history and won his 4th tournament MVP.
On the live performance side, Saweetie is an American rapper who made a name for herself by rhyming over iconic tracks, giving a nod to those who came before while building her own catalog of fiery hits such as “My Type,” “Tap In,” and “Best Friend,” a collaboration with Doja Cat.
Meanwhile pop superstars Sarah Geronimo and Billy Crawford are expected to represent the Filipino side at the international event happening on Saturday, 7:30 at the Big Dome.
Ranked #40 in the world, the Philippines has gained an outright berth in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Games by being one of the host nations alongside Japan and Indonesia. This is the sixth time that the Philippines is playing on the world stage, and its second time as host nation following its hosting in 1978 where it finished in the top eight.
As a FIBA global partner, Smart is going all-out for the FIBAWC 2023 Draw Event as anticipation reaches a new high with all the 32 qualified nations receiving their country assignments during the spectacle. This year’s much-anticipated FIBA draw will finally announce the matchups and finalize which countries will be playing in the Philippines, giving Pinoy basketball fans time to plan which games and basketball greats they wish to see live in action.
Catch Ben&Ben live and win prizes from Smart at ‘FIBA in Manila’ in BGC
Basketball fans can also join the all-day festival party, “FIBA in Manila,” at BGC Uptown area, corner of 9th Avenue and 36th Street in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) from 10 am onwards, also on April 29.
Ben&Ben’s performance at the “FIBA in Manila” will be streamed live via Smart’s official Facebook page at 2pm.
Never miss a moment with the Smart LiveStream App
Smart subscribers can get hyped with non-stop FIBA basketball action by catching all the exciting happenings and the games, including those played in the previous windows, via the Smart Livestream App.
Using the app, fans can catch every minute of live basketball action at the 2023 FIBAWC from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10.
The Smart LiveStream app is downloadable on the App Store and the Google Play Store, and subscribers will only need to enter a valid Smart Prepaid or Postpaid mobile number to enjoy all the sports action.