The Fiji Police Force warns of rising online scam risks during the holiday season and advises caution when receiving money requests, even from someone they know and trust.
In one such incident involving the Viber platform, scammers attempted to acquire an individual’s Viber activation code, enabling them to take control of the victim’s Viber account. The hacker then duplicated the victim’s Viber profile, using the same profile picture but a different mobile number. With this fake account, scammers solicit funds from the victim’s contacts, including employees who sent money for what they believed was their employer’s medical needs and a woman who sent a substantial sum, thinking it was for her sister’s land purchase.
Assistant Commissioner of Crime ACP Mesake Waqa said they have also received reports of email compromises, where hackers trick individuals into sharing sensitive information, including online banking details.
The scammers would send links to websites frequently visited by the victim, often promoting attractive product offers, leading victims to disclose their online banking details. Scammers also impersonate reputable companies via email, altering web addresses to redirect users to counterfeit websites that seem legitimate.
Online scams are also spreading through other messaging platforms including WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
Waqa reiterated the importance of verifying requests for money, even from familiar sources, especially critical as many scammers are operating from overseas, making it difficult for local authorities to intervene.
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