Telcos and Banks told to step up security

nks and telecommunication companies were yesterday advised to beef up their security measures after police uncovered yet another Internet banking scam involving foreigners.

This involved "phishing" and the hijacking of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

Federal commercial crime department director Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said the syndicate downloaded data of bank customers and obtained the victim's new SIM card in a highly elaborate scam.

At least 12 customers of one particular bank were victims of this syndicate who lost a total of RM243,000 since early this year.

The suspects in custody are four men from Sierra Leonne, Jordan, Pakistan and a Malaysian. Three local women are also involved.

The suspect from Sierra Leonne was said to be the mastermind behind this scam. He is a graduate in computer science from a local collage. The Jordanian is studying civil engineering while the Pakistani is on a social visit pass.

The seven were nabbed at the upmarket condominium in Millenium Square, Petaling Jaya, on Sept 9.

Syed Ismail said the mastermind downloaded a software which enabled the syndicate to collect data of bank customers through the bank's kiosks, using only a thumb drive.

Once the information was obtained, including the victim's handphone number, the syndicate would produce a false police report, which would be submitted to the telecommunication company (telco) concerned, for a replacement SIM card.

The syndicate would also have an authorisation letter from the "victim", with a photostat copy of the culprit's identity card to enable him/her to receive the SIM card.

Meanwhile, the syndicate would call the victim and tell them that they would experience technical difficulties with their line for several hours.

"This is when the syndicate will strike. Using the SIM card, they will produce a new Transaction Authorisation Code which they would use to access the account and clean it up.

"And when the bank sends a text message to the account holder asking for confirmation of the transaction, the syndicate would receive the message and okay the transaction. The victim would not know that his account had been cleared out until very much later."

Police set up a special team to track down this syndicate. For the past two months they kept several members of this group under surveillance.

Police raided the condo last Friday and seized several computer sets, bank account books, laptops, thumb drives, identification cards, false police reports, router and adapters, credit cards and several other documents.

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