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Israeli startups targets phone scammers using biometrics

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Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Source: Times of Israel

Online fraudsters are getting smarter by the day. As soon as banks and financial institutions smoke them out, they find new ways to outsmart the system.

One noteworthy case happened a year ago in the UK when a woman got a call from someone saying they were from her mobile phone provider and telling her she was late with her payment. The woman used her debit card to pay the 60 UK pounds she was told she owed.


Five minutes later, she got a call from the fraud team at her bank telling her she had been scammed. Because her debit card was linked to her bank account number, they said, it was advisable to move her money into a new bank account.

They asked her to log in to the bank online and move all of her money to a new bank account number they provided her, in a number of small batches of up to 9,000 UK pounds each. Once each sum had been cleared, they would tell her when to transfer the next batch. And so she did.

Unfortunately, it was a double scam. The first caller was working hand in hand with the second caller. The woman, however, really believed she had been defrauded by the first caller and that her money was at risk. So she did what the (fake) fraud team told her to do, transferring her money in relatively small amounts at the request of the fraudsters, in order not to raise the suspicions of the real fraud team of the bank.

So, the rightful owner of a bank account transferred legal amounts of money voluntarily to another account. How can a scam like that be detected or avoided?

“The user was basically scammed and conned to move the money,” said Uri Rivner, the co-founder and chief cyber officer of Israeli startup BioCatch, which was brought in by the UK bank in question to help them with the case. “There’s no technology that can actually stop it.”


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