New variant of phone fraud generates more than $5 million USD in losses to small-town residents

Since the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, reports of various cybercriminal practices, especially phishing attacks and phone fraud, have increased. Although authorities, agencies and users can implement protection mechanisms against some variants of hacking, cybercriminals know how to exploit the human factor, considered the weakest link in this equation.

An example of this is the report on multiple telephone scams against the inhabitants of Puerto Madryn, Argentina, which have already generated losses of more than $5 million Argentine pesos.

The operators of this malicious campaign pretended to be employees of a bank to obtain financial information from the victims. In this way they obtained the victims’ card details, their account numbers and access to their online banking platforms. In some cases, cybercriminals even stole information from cryptocurrency wallets.

After receiving multiple complaints, local authorities carried out 25 raids throughout the province of Córdoba, as police believe the calls originated in that territory. This operation also spread to a couple of prisons in the province.

At the end of these police operations, the authorities announced the identification of two of the leaders of this gang, who were operating from prison and in complicity with vigilantes and people abroad. With the money obtained from this illicit campaign, the criminals were able to acquire cars, jewelry and even real estate. 

Argentina has been an especially prolific territory for these cybercriminal operations. According to official figures from the Specialized Cybercrime Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, these variants of fraud have increased by almost 3000% during the last two years.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.