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Statistics revealed by HKMA show that phishing fraud rose by 145% in the first half of 2021.
Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have joined hands to raise awareness about surging phishing attacks.
Through the campaign, the HKMA warned consumers to secure their online banking accounts, including their login details, usernames, passwords, and OTPs (One-Time Passwords) as they are at the highest risk of being breached during a phishing attack.
HKMA recently stated that they will no longer ask customers to provide sensitive information such as login passwords or OTPs via hyperlinks. In accordance with HKMA’s supervisory requirements, banks too have decided not to send SMS or emails to customers with hyperlinks attached, directing them to the bank’s website or application.
According to the HKMA, banks detected 169 cases of suspicious websites, mobile applications, and phishing SMS and emails in the first six months of 2021. This is a major increase from a value of 69 noted in the first half of 2020.
Additionally, 111 customers were affected due to these phishing attacks, involving an aggregate amount of HKD 22 million. In 2020, no such cases were reported to authorities.
Owing to the situation, the banking industry and HKMA will be working closely to raise awareness about phishing scams. Collaboration with the Police will also be undertaken to combat the fraud.
Banks have been advised to alert the HKMA in case they become aware of fraudulent websites, phishing e-mails or similar scams designed to trick customers into giving away sensitive customer information.
Suggested Read: Phishing Attacks and the Role of Two-Factor Authentication