New telecom scam sweeping across Taiwan

Woman cheated out of NT$3,000 by new telecom scam in Taiwan

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(Image from pxhere user mohamed hassan)

(Image from pxhere user mohamed hassan)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Reports have surfaced over the past few days of a new scam in which smartphone users receive a notification that their "package" has been sent and that they only need to enter their telephone number and verification code.

On the Taiwanese Facebook page Breaking News Commune (爆料公社), a woman wrote that on Saturday (July 27) she had received a text message saying that her "package had been sent, please check immediately" (包裹已派發,請即時查收). When she clicked the link that was included, a webpage asked for her telephone number and verification code.

As she just happened to have done some online shopping, she did not think much about the text message and dutifully supplied her phone number and authentication code. However, later that evening she inexplicably received two notifications from her iTunes account of charges of NT$33 (US$1) and NT$3,290.

The woman could find no record of items she had knowingly purchased in those amounts. She then began to suspect that she had been duped.


Screenshot of text message. (Image from 爆料公社)

She then contacted Apple's customer service and confirmed that the two transactions had not been made with her account number, and they helped her cancel the charges. The woman said that the entry of her verification code had enabled the fraudsters to use her mobile payment function.

The woman then decided to share her experience on the internet to prevent other netizens from being cheated. Some netizens responded that they, too, had been cheated and had seen the sketchy text message.

One netizen reported being cheated out of NT$1,800 by the same ploy. Fortunately, they were also able to cancel the charge.


Screenshot of charges to woman's iTunes account (Image from 爆料公社)

Others said that they had seen the suspicious text message but deleted it without entering any information. Others were frightened by the new scam:

"How terrible!"

"Seems like a lot of people received it."

"If a message has a link, I won't click on it."


Screenshot of message asking for Apple Store account verification (Image from www.165.gov.tw)

The 165 Anti-Fraud and Internet Scam Network confirmed that there have been recent reports of consumers receiving text messages such as "express package has been sent, please quickly check" (快遞已發,請您及時查收收) and "your package has been mailed, please check it" (您的包裏已郵寄,請查收). These messages often include a series of links to websites to lure recipients to click on them.

Police advise consumers not to click on links to unknown websites or recklessly install applications. Police recommend that those who believe they have been victimized by telecom fraud contact the 165 Anti-Fraud and Internet Scam Hotline.


Screenshot of message asking phone owners to download malicious app. (Image from www.165.gov.tw)