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Investigators of Gomel Region have noted a rapid increase in the number of cybercrimes in the region

Compared to the same period last year, this year in Gomel Region there has been a significant increase in crimes in the field of high technologies (Articles 212, 349-355 of the Criminal Code of Belarus). For example, for 10 months of 2020, 2295 crimes of this category were registered, which is almost twice more than in 2019 (1177). It should be noted that the upward trend of such crimes has been observed this year throughout the republic (7694 in 2019, 16304 in 2020).

The largest increase in crime in the region is noted in the territory of Gomel (+370), Zhlobin Region (+122), Mozyr Region (+143), Rechitsa Region (+111) and Svetlogorsk Region (+93).

Almost 90% of the total number of crimes in this category are crimes under Art. 212 of the Criminal Code, when the actions of criminals are associated with theft of property through the use of computer technology.

The criminal practice of stealing money from card accounts of citizens through vishing is still widespread. Crime figures under the pretense of bank employees call individuals’ mobile phones and, through psychological manipulation, persuade them to provide information on the availability of bank cards and their details. Most often, criminals provide a potential victim with false information about suspicious attempts to transfer or retrieve money from card accounts and the need to suppress illegal transactions. From the first minutes of a conversation, fake bankers adhere to an offensive communication style, asking numerous questions, not giving the interlocutor the opportunity to comprehend the incoming information. For greater credibility, they call the name and patronymic of the cardholder known to them, use banking terminology in their speech. Criminal figures often mask their telephone number as a real bank number.

There are widespread cases when criminals under the guise of wide-profile specialists of “Belarusbank” offer clients of other banking institutions a free service to prevent cyber attacks on their card accounts. Thus, in August this year, such a "consultant" persuaded a 32-year-old resident of Gomel that someone was trying to withdraw money from his card. Using psychological pressure, the criminal tricked him to find out the details of the cards “Belarusbank” and “Belgazprombank”, as well as SMS-codes to confirm operations. As a result, the resident of Gomel lost his savings in national and foreign currency in the amount of 15 thousand rubles in equivalent.

In October, a 62-year-old resident of Mozyr, who was not a cardholder of “Belarusbank”, told the criminal the details of his four cards of other banks and one card of his wife. As a result of illegal actions, over 41 thousand rubles were debited from the card accounts of the spouses.

In the range of fake bankers, in addition to various intimidations, there are tempting offers for remote registration of profitable deposits, e-mails about reformatting the bank’s security system and the need to fill in a questionnaire indicating card details, as well as other tricks.

Phishing is a widespread way to steal money from people's card accounts - actions aimed at obtaining confidential information (passport data, bank card details, login and password for Internet banking, etc.) by sending links to fake Internet pages. Most often the criminal networks are used by users of online trading platforms. The cybercriminal pretends to be a buyer and asks the seller to provide bank card details for a money transfer. The fraudster then sends the seller a phishing link to a fake online banking page containing a request to enter user data and a confirmation SMS-code to supposedly confirm the transfer. Having received the necessary information, the criminal withdraws money from the card account. As a rule, communication between the attacker and the victim takes place exclusively via messengers.

In early November, a Zhitkovichi resident posted an advertisement on the sale of ankle boots on Kufar. A potential customer contacted her via WhatsApp and asked to transfer the shoes on a full prepayment basis using a courier service. The customer texted a phishing link to the site for entering the details of the bank card to which the money for the purchase must be transferred. The victim indicated the details of the installment card, from which almost 2000 rubles were subsequently debited.

According to the rules for using a bank card, it is prohibited to transfer it for use to third parties, to disclose details. However, in practice, cardholders often ignore security measures for various reasons.

For example, a 71-year-old resident of Zhitkovichi handed over his card to a social worker of the territorial center of social services for the population. Throughout the year, the woman helped him with the housework, bought food and paid for utilities. Initially, the pensioner carefully monitored the movement of funds in the current account, but after suffering an illness, he weakened control. The assistant took advantage of this and carried out several transactions to retrieve money from his card for a total amount of at least 1600 rubles. Now she is in the status of a suspect.

The focus of criminals is still on the owners of mobile phones, who lend their communication means to third parties for temporary use. Under various pretexts, criminal figures ask citizens for a phone, connect to the v-banking service, receive a quick loan from a communications provider in the amount of up to 100 rubles and transfer money to their account.

In the proceedings of the office of criminal investigations of the Department of the Investigative Committee for Gomel Region was a criminal case against five minors who deceived credulous residents of Gomel for six months in this way. Criminals, mainly under the pretext of urgent blocking of their lost card, asked for a phone from Gomel residents aged 10 to 18 years. 61 people were recognized as victims in the case, 26 of whom were identified by the investigator during the investigation.

The ways of committing crimes in the field of high technologies and against information security are constantly changing, so citizens need to constantly update their digital literacy.
Employees of the Investigative Committee recommend holders of bank cards carefully read the rules of safe use posted on the official websites of banking institutions. Investigators call users of social networks and visitors to Internet sites to critically receive all information coming from outside.

Official representative of the Department
of the Investigative Committee for Gomel Region
Mariya Krivonogova