Local banks warn of online fraud

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Many local banks have repeatedly warned their customers about sophisticated hi-tech scams that could leave victims with little or no protection from their banks, Tien Phong newspaper reports.

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A customer withdraws cash at an ATM

The Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) said in a notice that some of its customers have recently transferred money to unintended persons, after their customer emails were hacked.

The scam goes like this. Thieves spy on emails sent between customers and their partners, and then illegally change bank details on transaction documents so that money could be sent abroad.

Crooks are targeting small and medium-sized businesses which have low levels of security in their network management systems, or have not put in place sufficient regulations on safe email usage.

Following the money transfers, the victims have asked Vietcombank to retrieve their money from foreign banks, especially in China, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, Vietnamese banks have found it difficult to reimburse their customers.

Once the payment has been made, the money is quickly drained from the foreign bank accounts by the thieves. Also, foreign banks have complex procedures for returning stolen money.

Here are some signs of fraudulent transactions. Contracts and relevant transactions, such as delivery notices, invoices and negotiations, are made by email, while their partners – exporters or importers – do not confirm such transactions by other means of communication.

Vietcombank also asks local companies to check whether the national domains of their beneficiaries are different from those of their foreign banks.

Some common forms of fraud include amending signed contracts by email, sending spoof emails to change beneficiary details, using similar emails on a different domain, as well as editing beneficiary details or inserting details on fake beneficiaries’ invoices.

Meanwhile, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has warned its customers of another scam. Some websites offer fake information on customer service phone numbers of BDIV and other banks to trick customers into calling. The bank’s official channels are the website bidv.com.vn and the email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Additionally, the Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) has told its customers to be more cautious when making transactions at points of sale (POS).

Overall, local banks have advised their customers to visit their official websites and log into their online banking systems, which are linked with their sites.

Those customers who suspect they have been diverted to fake banking websites should change their account passwords, and immediately get in touch with banking staff.

Also, an expert told Tien Phong newspaper that local banks should upgrade their technology and streamline their procedures, as well as quickly inform their customers of risks and provide them with the information they need to prevent bank fraud.

Source: VietNamNet

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