'Phantom Hand' scam puts banks on alert, learn how to protect yourself

‘Phantom Hand’ scam puts banks on alert, learn how to protect yourself

A new type of virtual fraud quickly became popular and attracted the attention of users and authorities. Known as “Phantom Hand” fraud, the fraud becomes brutal, allowing the victim to see their bank account being emptied in real time. The prevalence of this type of crime, which includes the installation of fake apps, has made banks need to warn their customers.

The fraud is quite complex, as the fraudster installs a remote access application on the victim’s smartphone. Installation takes place after phishing campaigns, in which bank account holders are persuaded to perform a fake update of their bank applications, or to install fake plugins, which will increase the security of these applications.

Scammers are completely convincing

Another tactic involves what’s called voice phishing, or voice phishing, where criminals simulate a fake keyboard, pretend to work at banks where victims have an account, and warn about a transaction that never happened. After that, they send a link to install this same app, with the pretext that it will be additional protection for the bank account.

A fake hand scam is effective when the victim is convinced that contact via email, SMS or phone has already been made by the bank and installs the fake app on their smartphone. For this, the call is very realistic, with simulations that even include the ambient sound of a call center and even diverting the call to other people, who will be from other sectors, to increase the credibility of the fraud.

These rogue apps allow criminals to view victims’ smartphones in real time, and even manage some screens and apps remotely. Generally, victims notice strange behavior on devices, with some apps opening on their own. This access opens the possibility of transferring values, paying false coupons, and even loan applications.

Banks on alert

Photo: Pexeks / Yan Krukov / Canaltech

The popularization of the ghost hand scam led Banco do Brasil to prepare special materials, with a series of instructions, regarding this type of scam. The institution confirmed that it does not require the installation of any application other than the official application of the bank. In addition, it does not have the practice of sending links to its customers, and all bank applications must be found in the official Android and iPhone stores.

The Brazilian Federation of Eggs (Verapan) in turn issued a statement informing that the official applications of banks, in and of themselves, are completely safe. According to the party, there is no record of security breaches recorded in these applications, and it is not necessary to install any additional applications to increase the security of these programs.

How to protect yourself

In order to avoid falling for the “Phantom Hand” scam, it is important to keep in mind that banks never contact you to ask to install apps or send links to their customers without asking them. If in doubt, contact your bank yourself using the phone number on the back of your card or go to your branch for clarification.

Whenever you get calls, avoid getting caught up in emotion, the scammers put in a sense of urgency so that the victim becomes anxious and does whatever they want. Today, major bank apps allow it to be monitored in real time, if a fraudster cites a wrong transaction, check the app if such an attempt has already been made.

Even if the transaction is not approved, the user will be able to see in the app that the attempt was made if it was a real transaction. If nothing appears when you open the app, this is a clue that this might be a scam. Also, never install applications that contain links received by SMS, email or WhatsApp, everything your bank needs will be located in the official Android and Apple stores.

Always use two-factor authentication to authorize a transaction. Generally, in addition to the password, you will also be asked for some biometric data, such as your face or fingerprint. And if you’ve already been a victim of a “Phantom Hand” scam or other financial fraud, find a police station that specializes in digital crime, if possible, and file a report.

Source: Journal Extra

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