UPDATE : 2021.11.29 Mon 09:12
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Increased Smishing Crimes Exploiting COVID-19 Pandemic; Prevention is Most Important
  • By Park Jung-hyun,cub-reporter
  • 승인 2021.09.26 21:09
  • 호수 295
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▲ Smishing crime (Source: ESTsecurity)

Recently, smishing crimes are increasing by exploiting the situation in which non-face-to-face economic activities have increased, due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the use of parcel delivery services and gift icons have increased, as more and more people use smartphones to ask after others or send gifts, instead of meeting in person. Therefore, it resulted in continuous consumer damage related to couriers and gift icons. In the case of smishing crimes, it tends to get worse every time there is a social issue, especially in September and October, when there's the Chuseok holiday. According to the Fair-Trade Commission, 22,810 applications for consumer counseling related to delivery services and 773 applications for damage relief have been received over the past three years. Among these, there were 4,186 (18.3%) applications for consumer counseling and 139 (18.0%) applications for damage relief, during the Chuseok holiday period. Gift icons also had 1,345 related consumer consultations and 129 applications for damage relief over the past three years, with 219 (16.3%) consultations and 28 (21.7%) applications for damage relief between September and October. The police urged special attention as fraudulent crimes and consumer damage related to couriers and gift icons aimed at the holiday season are expected to increase.

Smishing includes an Internet address in text messages that induces malicious app installation. Internet addresses are easily deceived because it is difficult for users to grasp website information with shortened services, similar to general Internet addresses. Typical examples of damage cases related to parcel delivery include damage to the shipment, loss, delay, and wrongful delivery. For example, an Internet address is sent along with some information, such as a request to change the address or compensation due to loss of parcel service. When you click the link, the app is installed, and all personal information is leaked as soon as you authenticate yourself. People who frequently use online shopping malls often click the link because they misconceive that their products have been delivered incorrectly in the middle of their transaction. In March, there was damage that someone paid 500,000 won for the game through the site after receiving a text message of delivery. In preparation for this, the Fair-Trade Commission stressed that the situation of each business operator and branch should be checked when using parcel service. Evidential materials such as contracts, receipts, photos, and videos should be kept and immediately provided to the business operator in case of damage.

In the case of gift icon text messages, most people send Internet addresses along with mobile gift icons, for holiday or birthday gifts. It is a method of exploiting people's psychology because people feel good whenever they receive gifts. However, as there is a saying, "There is nothing free in the world," everyone can become a victim of smishing by pressing the link that a gift has come. In addition, unlike regular gift icons, free gift icons provided by companies through online events or promotions, have a short validity period, and most of them cannot be extended or refunded. Therefore, it is necessary to check the terms and conditions thoroughly, whether it is possible to extend the validity period or receive a refund upon receipt.

Advanced prevention is important because once a smishing crime occurs, it is difficult to recover from damage. To prevent damage from Internet frauds or smishing, it is essential to doubt the other person's Internet address to prevent smishing damage. Inquiring about the seller's contact information and account number in advance through the "Cybercop," a mobile app operated by the National Police Agency, also helps prevent damage. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the security settings of smartphones, so that apps from unknown sources are not installed carelessly. Even when you need to download the app, you must install it only through an authorized open market, without pressing the Internet address in the text message. If you are not sure what action to take after being damaged, you can receive counseling on responding to Internet frauds through the Consumer24 website, 1372 Consumer Counseling Center, and 118. As new smishing techniques are becoming more intelligent, all of the information in your phone can be shared off guard. Internet fraud and smishing crime prevention methods are actively promoted through the police station's website, SNS, and extensive electronic boards. Be careful not to suffer from crime by familiarizing yourself with these precautions.

By Park Jung-hyun,cub-reporter  jhgongju0903@gmail.com

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