You can lie to him from three boxes … Why can’t they stop scammers in Russia?

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 23. What else will the West freeze to spite Russia 08/06/2022

In Russia, scammers of all stripes have become more active. Why nobody can stop them and how not become a victim of swindlers. 

According to data of the Central Bank, only for the first quarter of 2022  scammers stole 3.3 billion rubles from the Russians, and only 6.2% of this amount was returned. In May the same number of complaints about the actions of intruders increased by 86%. Moreover, they began to use social engineering less frequently, switching to "high technologies". How can not fall for such tricks?

Catch of “fishermen” – scammers – 3.3 billion rubles for the 1st quarter of 2022. Photo: Collage  AiF

Unfortunate brokers and deceived hopes

It would be fine only retirees who find it difficult to understand new technologies would fall for the bait of scammers. But criminals manage to swindle large sums out of pockets of           those who keep pace with progress.     

"Playing on the stock exchange is easy!" — how many times have we heard these advertising slogans. So the offers of scammers fall on already prepared soil. In Yakutia, according to data of the Republican Ministry of Internal Affairs, for the first quarter of 2022  recorded 18 "investment" crimes against 15 such appeals last year. One of the victims, a 44-year-old doctor, said that a certain “investment company manager” called him on his mobile phone. and began to explain how you can make money on exchange trading. Realizing that the man was interested, the caller switched him to "financial analyst". And she, in turn, suggested that the victim start with an investment in "balance of trade" 2 & nbsp; million rubles. By all means, the unlucky «investor» transferred to the accounts of five different people. In order to finally assure the man that his money “plays on” the stock exchange, the scammers insisted on installing an application through which it was possible to track the “flow of funds”. Through complex fraud, 4.1 million rubles were lured from the doctor.

Every year, the number of crimes committed with the use of mobile communications and the Internet, and in Krasnodar Territory, is growing. If in 2017  4693 such cases were registered there, then in 2021 already 14 393. According to the  deputy head of the department for detecting theft with the use of information and telecommunication technologies of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Krasnodar Territory, Pavel Genzersky, precisely on scam fraud (scam in translated from English — "scam, fraud", this is the name of deception on the Internet. — Ed.) Kuban residents most often complain.

— When foreign social networks were not yet blocked, scammers launched targeted ads there and, masquerading as well-known banks, offered to earn on investments, — explains the principles of deception P. Genzersky. — When a victim submits a request, the a "financial adviser" is contacted.

Under the guidance of a “consultant” a person installs a remote access program, an electronic wallet on his smartphone or computer, registers on a fraudulent platform, the growth of interest on which creates an artificial picture of a safe investment. Sometimes, at the initial stages, scammers even allow some to withdraw small amounts. And & nbsp; people, seeing the return on small money, then willingly increase their “deposits”. Such communication with a fraudster can last for months, and damage — reach 15 million rubles

Photo: Collage AiF

Volunteer helpers… of criminals

And in Ryazan, scammers received funds by involving the victim in… solving a case of financial crimes. First, they call allegedly from law enforcement agencies: they say, with the help of a fake power of attorney in your name, they are trying to take a loan. Soon the victim receives another call — on this time from Central Bank, "employee" whom he asks to assist in the operation to capture the intruders — bank employees are suspected of fraud.

After that, the victim is instructed to go to the bank branch where the suspects allegedly operate and take a loan there. At the same time, nothing suspecting "assistant" warn that about "operation" no should know, up to criminal liability for disclosure of classified information. Since we people are responsible and intolerant to criminals, they, unfortunately are led to such a scheme.

In Volgograd region. telephone fraud has become a real scourge. According to law enforcement officials, the number of victims has been growing in recent years. But 12 March 2022  “anti-record” was set — On that day, the police received 12 applications from residents who gave 2 million 941 thousand dollars to the deceivers. rub.

— There is no limit to the impudence of scammers, — outraged Volzhsky resident Nikolai Petrenko. — The other day, I got a call allegedly from the police: they say they are investigating cases of leakage of personal data of a bank client. And offered to give their bank details — ostensibly to check whether                        turned out to be among the victims. And after all, someone will believe and call!

Trap for the stronger sex

But there are also unusual schemes. Thus, the Kuban police officers uncovered a group that posted profiles of women allegedly providing sexual services on the Internet. When potential customers called on the ads, the men imitated a female voice and asked to put a deposit on the card.

But & nbsp; often "decoy ducks" representatives of the weaker sex also work. A 33-year-old resident of Kaliningrad met a girl on a dating site. She stated that she was ready for a face-to-face date — for example, in theater, which she loves very much, and threw a link to buy tickets. The victim issued 2 tickets on the site for 2490 rub. The man made the purchase again, the money was debited from his account again, but the tickets never arrived. The  support service told him that there was a failure again, and they dropped a link for a refund. Having followed it, the man entered the details of the card and lost already 24.9 thousand. rub.

The scammers explained this as another mistake and offered to follow a new link, after which another 30 thousand thousands of money  rub. Thus, the total amount of lost funds amounted to 59 & nbsp; 925 & nbsp; rubles.

“Yes” and "no" don speak

Banks assure that in situations with fraud they are always on the client side protecting their interests. Can trust this? And how to act correctly if you still became a victim of online scammers?

Safety

Technological progress in Russia — due to her previous backwardness — turned out to be faster than in other countries, explains security expert Alexander Vlasov. And if the business (and simultaneously with scammers) mastered new digital technologies successfully, then the brain of the layman turned out to be less flexible. Therefore, to & nbsp; vulnerable to & nbsp; plan of category frauds & nbsp; we are not & nbsp; only older people, but & nbsp; and & nbsp; youth. "In society has not yet formed traditions of information security training" — the expert explains.

What basics of information security should be remembered once and for all? Vlasov names the following.

The first rule: Don talk to strangers. If you are called “from” the bank ” and report that they are allegedly trying to debit money from your account, then hang up the phone and call the bank yourself (or the department where you allegedly called from). Remember: bank employees (and even more so from law enforcement agencies) do not call customers on transaction issues, do find out account details and confidential data.

Second rule

strong>can be formulated like this: “yes” and "no" don speak. The thing is that your conversation can be recorded and used the next fraudulent call to a bank or other organization where the answering machine recognizes the voice, already on your behalf. Therefore, you can’t say “I”, pronounce your name and patronymic, answer with the word “yes” & nbsp; & mdash; a record of this can be used for identity spoofing with the help of the same answering machine. Don do not mention any numbers, expiration dates of the card, and the security code on the reverse side.

Third rule: if you guessed that the call is fraudulent, you can not tease, or, as it is fashionable to say today, “troll”; phone scammers. They will record your voice, and who knows where and how it will be used later.

Do the banks care?

The banks themselves are calm about telephone fraud — because they are not obligated to indemnify damages if the client agreed to this or other operation with his funds (even fraudulent) or divulged his card details.

However, in the last year, the number of technical thefts has greatly increased. We were partly saved from them by the Western blocking of the largest Russian banks. But in in other financial organizations, the threat has not disappeared. “This is a write-off of funds without the consent of customers, — told „AiF“ Head of „Internet Search“ Igor Bederov. — In the West, it is possible to transfer without confirmation by the cardholder. The scammers realized that they could steal through legal channels, and began to actively exploit this vulnerability».

The problem with such a write-off is that go and then prove whether it was allowed by you or not. The  bank may even pretend to investigate, but the reimbursement will most certainly be denied — the money went through a legal channel, and not some hackers appropriated it for themselves. You can apply to the court, but it is unlikely that you will be able to provide enough evidence.

Why are scammers so hard to catch?

As told «AiF» Experts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, the situation in Ukraine and the imposed sanctions by the West have given rise to swindlers of all stripes to invent new and adapt old schemes of taking money from the population».

What else did they come up with ?

For example, methods of deception have appeared associated with the offer to receive loans at lower interest rates than in banks. There are also absolutely cynical cases: relatives of persons participating in a special operation in Ukraine are offered to buy various kinds of information. Money from accounts is stolen from the military personnel themselves, using their phones that they have lost.

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And to commit remote theft, scammers use international sanctions imposed against Russia to their advantage. “Phone scammers began to actively exploit the current news agenda. In the past, strangers claiming to be bankers simply tried to get your card details. Now the pretext for this is information about the disconnection of Russian financial institutions from the international payment system. Other reasons to call — the likelihood of an allegedly upcoming complete ban on  cash withdrawals from accounts or a global blocking of banking operations as a result of the introduction of sanctions restrictions  — told official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia Irina Volk.

Some victims were persuaded to take a loan and transfer it to a safe "anti-crisis" an account actually owned by scammers. Another relatively new type of scam — investment in cryptocurrency. The scheme is similar: real real money goes to the accounts of scammers in a foreign bank, and in the exchange the unfortunate crypto-investor who believes them gets a zilch. In May, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB detained one of these swindlers in Moscow. The CEO of the metropolitan organization, together with accomplices, promised a high income from investments in the digital payment system. They created the company's website, which contained information about paid training programs, having mastered which, citizens will certainly become successful investors. Advertising materials about the activities of the company were published even in the central media, and branches of the organization were opened in a number of foreign countries.

No less active scammers speculate on the understandable desire of people to save money when buying certain goods. For this, in particular, fake sites are created. Citizens are sent SMS with a message about sales and links to such sites. Victims put goods in a virtual basket, enter their card details for payment, after which money is withdrawn from their accounts.

Is it possible to avoid deception? In the case of online shopping — Yes. Pay close attention to the name and site address, as just one wrong letter can redirect you to the mirror site.

Is real grab their hand hand?

— Problems with catching scammers are primarily related to the fact that these people are skillfully encrypted: they operate through VPN servers, transfer stolen funds through foreign countries, and work through special programs. Now, by the way, they began to use new schemes of calls through short numbers in messengers, and it to trace them even more difficult, — explains lawyer, founder of the consulting group Vadim Tkachenko.

Another difficult moment — attackers use different psychological tricks, which then legally do not always allow them to be held accountable. They so skillfully manipulate a person that the victim actually makes the decision to transfer money. From a legal point of view, it is then difficult to prove that it was precisely the fact of fraud, and not a voluntary transfer of funds. This also applies to loans that people take under psychological treatment and immediately transfer money to other people's accounts.

Certainly, carelessness of people also plays into the hands of criminals: often we ourselves voluntarily transfer our codes, SMS and other ways to protect unauthorized persons, they only need to behave a little more formally with us. Sometimes people accidentally expose their card data or fix a transfer somewhere, all this information becomes known to third parties, and then only a technical question remains.

There are also completely official obstacles. For example, the legal impossibility of canceling a transfer. It's not even easy to track him down. To and often fraudulent schemes go through droppers — citizens and companies to the accounts of which the stolen money is withdrawn. As a rule, they receive their remuneration for this, but there are cases when they do not even suspect that they are acting in the  role of a kind of criminal “transit”.

The problem with droppers is now being addressed at legislators' level. The State Duma is discussing a bill, within the framework of which it is proposed to allow banks to freeze funds stolen by fraudsters from the accounts of Russians, and to block the accounts of intruders for up to a month. If it is accepted, it will greatly facilitate the return of money.

When will calls from "banks" be banned?

The law on prohibition of calls from replacement numbers was adopted a year ago. According to  the duties of telecom operators including blocking calls and SMS coming from abroad to Russia from swap numbers. Why doesn the situation not change for for the better?

As explained by “AiF” in the  Ministry of Internal Affairs, changes in the Federal Law "On communications" enter into force in stages until 2023  Since 1 May of this year, only one point has been earned so far: the telecom operator is obliged to transfer to the communication network of another operator the real, and not replacement number from which the call originated. The creation of a centralized system for tracking replacement numbers is also being discussed. In the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in each region, special units have been created to investigate this type of crime. In the first quarter of 2022   more than 18 thousand cases  cases, which is on 2 thousand more than in January — March 2021  In order to compensate for the damage caused to the victims, the  property of the suspects (accused) was seized in the amount of more than 40 billion rubles.

In addition, a service for complaints about spam calls and SMS has been launched. The FAS expects that the number from which spam was received will be blocked within within 72 hours by all operators connected to the system.

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