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Cyber fraudsters take advantage of coronavirus spread to steal money from bank accounts

7 April 2020

The Bank of Russia records new fraud schemes to steal money from bank accounts using social engineering. In so doing, criminals exploit the topic of coronavirus infection (Covid-19).

Criminals call citizens and promise deferrals for loan repayment, various compensations, benefits, refunds for air tickets, services to diagnose contamination with the coronavirus infection, and volunteer services. All this boils down to the following: under any pretences, a person is to provide his/her bank card details, a password received by SMS or to make a payment to a designated account.

Criminals also send out e-mails containing links to phishing websites. In order to lure out bank card information and to persuade into making investment or to go to infected websites by clicking a link, they tend to falsify brands or corporate styles of well-known organisations (Ministry of Health, Rospotrebnadzor, Bank of Russia, World Health Organisation, etc.). Similar attacks are occasionally registered in other states.

The Bank of Russia recommends that citizens refrain from providing their bank card information to other persons or entering this information and passwords received by SMS on unknown websites under whatever pretences.

‘We do not rule out that fraudsters may exploit the virus topic over the entire pandemic period, nor do we rule out the appearance of new methods to deceive citizens. On our part, we are continuing to monitor the situation and to work in close contact with banks and other financial market players’, says Dmitry Skobelkin, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia.