Women Most Gullible in Phone Scams

  • By Lee Ki-hun

    August 29, 2020 08:33

    The biggest victims of a growing number of messenger scams are women.

    Scammers may use messaging apps like Kakao Talk by disguising them as their victims' friends after gleaning information from their user profile and then tap them for loans. They often ask for small amounts of money that make it easier for the victims to go along. If any potential victims ask scammers why their messenger ID has changed, they claim they lost their phone.

    A staffer at the Financial Supervisory Service said, "An effective way to avoid falling victim for this scam is to call the real-life friend to verify the money request." 

    Men, meanwhile, are more vulnerable to scams pretending to offer low-interest loans or enticing victims to switch their existing debt to a cheaper scheme.

    The FSS investigated 135,000 reports of phone phishing scams from 2017 to the first quarter of this year. The FSS classifies scams into fake loan offers and impersonating an acquaintance or a bank. Scammers pretending to work for financial institutions entice victims to switch their borrowing to a cheaper new loan scheme and making them wire money to a scam account. Last year, 38,213 people became victims of this scam.

    Scammers impersonating others often pretend to be police officers or prosecutors. They tell victims that their bank accounts have been used in a crime and demand "compensation" for losses incurred due to the crime. Some 10,183 people fell victim to that scam last year.

    More recently, the messenger phishing scam has been on the rise pretending to be friends in need of quick money. The number of such reports surged from 1,116 in 2017 to 6,687 last year.

    The FSS' analysis showed men are more vulnerable to the loan scam, while women fall victim to scams by criminals pretending to be someone else. Men accounted for 51.6 percent of victims and women for 48.4 percent, but women were more gullible than men when it comes to scams through messaging apps.

    Many victims lost more money than they have, and some even took out loans to send to the scammers. According to the FSS, victims borrowed W289.3 billion over the last three years to send to the scammers (US$1=W1,185). 

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