Police warned of new scamming techniques over the MSN messaging system, in which victims were forced to close down accounts or change their passwords.
Previous scamming techniques included victims’ accounts being hacked, as well as asking a user to buy points for online games for them, then taking those points and vanishing, police said.
Recently, scammers appeared to have refined their technique, by posing as “victims” and claiming their accounts have been hacked. Another method is asking netizens to click on their blogs to increase their hits. Once netizens click into the site, a Trojan horse virus is downloaded and steals the passwords to their online accounts, police said.
In light of the increasing number of victims among MSN users, the government’s 165 anti-fraud hotline center reminded the public that once their MSN account is hacked, they should immediately report the incident to the nearest police station and fill out an authorization form to stop account activities.
Once the police have confirmed the account, they will contact the anti-fraud hotline, which will in turn forward the case to Microsoft Taiwan.
According to Vincent Shih (施立成), a legal director at Microsoft Taiwan, once the company receives notification of an MSN account hacking case, the account would be frozen within 24 hours, and Microsoft would provide police with the IP address of the computer that hacked into the account so that they can track down the scammer’s location.
Shih said people should be highly alert when browsing the Web and adhere to the principles: “Do not click on unknown sites,” “Do not install unknown programs,” “Do not use the same password for different accounts” and “Be alert when someone asks you to pay on the Web.”
Shih said people who did do not truthfully fill out the required information and are unable to answer the questions about their accounts after they are frozen might not be able to retrieve their accounts.
However, once an account is frozen, the scammers can’t access it either, Shih said.
Internet users who let their Web browser store their passwords are vulnerable to malware that can forward their passwords to scammers, who can then access their accounts at will, Shih said, adding that netizens should change their passwords frequently.
Those who are too lazy to remember too many passwords are often easy prey for computers in the eyes of the scammer, Shih added.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer