Police urge caution against phishing scams
Police have warned the public to be careful of phishing scams after some 120 reports about SMS messages and e-mails claiming to be from Hongkong Post and another 15 reports about fraudulent items from banks were received since November.
Phishing involves scammers posing as trustworthy entities to lure victims into giving away sensitive information such as credit card details on digital platforms. This information was then used to extort victims.
Police said over 3,400 phishing scams were recorded last year - a 35 percent rise from 2019.
The biggest victim of the Hongkong Post phishing scam was a 39-year-old man who lost HK$75,200, said Terry Cheung Tin-lok, superintendent of cyber security and technology crime bureau.
Cheung said the man received an e-mail claiming to be from Hongkong Post on January 11, saying he had a parcel waiting to be collected.
The man clicked on a hyperlink that came with the e-mail, which directed him to a fake Hongkong Post website where he was lured into providing his credit card details.
"The man received a message from his bank the following day, saying his credit card was billed four times in British pounds for the purchase of clothes from department stores overseas and online clothing stores," he said.
He said many flaws could be spotted in the SMSs, emails or websites involved, such as their interfaces, content and hyperlinks.
Hongkong Post director Kenneth Wu Pak-kin said the SMSs or e-mails claiming to be from the post office told victims that their deliveries were unsuccessful as they failed to provide complete personal information or pay additional shipping costs or customs taxes, before tricking them into clicking on a malicious hyperlink to update their credit card details.
He reminded that all mail items were delivered according to the addresses indicated, adding that Hongkong Post would not tell recipients to confirm or provide their address, or make payments via SMSs or e-mails.
Cyber security and technology crime bureau chief superintendent Frank Law Yuet-wing said in response to the scams that police have launched an operation codenamed "Windmark" from March 1 to 6.
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