The Malta Independent 20 June 2018, Wednesday

Police receiving complaints of suspicious calls from unknown numbers, urge caution

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 28 December 2017, 06:57 Last update: about 7 months ago

The Police Cyber Crime Unit has been contacted by a number of persons in relation to suspicious calls requesting financial information, this newsroom has been told.

Maltese citizens had contacted The Malta Independent, expressing concern as they had received calls requesting details of their financial accounts from an Estonian country code. Questions about this were sent to the police to check whether there had been more complaints than normal about this situation, and to ask whether the situation was widespread over the Christmas period.

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The police, in their response said: "From the information collected so far, it appears that those answering the calls are being told they will be put through a senior member of 'the company' to discuss potential investment opportunities. Others who received the calls claimed that the phone rang once and the caller hung up before they could answer."

"At this stage, it is still unclear what the aim of these callers are. Nevertheless, the advice of the Malta Police Force remains that any form of communication from unknown sources - whether it is a telephone call, SMS or email - should be treated with caution. Personal or private details (including financial information, passwords and PIN numbers) should never be given to such persons. Likewise, anyone noticing a 'missed call' from numbers they do not recognise should be aware that returning these calls may incur additional charges. In such cases, it is better to err on the side of caution." The police said that they are glad to note that, "although we have had a lot of people contacting the Cyber Crime Unit about these calls, none have reported that they have been duped into providing their details or making payments. Indeed, the continuous prevention campaigns undertaken by the Police throughout the year seem to be bearing fruit."

The police said that this situation did not just occur over the Christmas period. "It can be said that these types of calls and messages seem to be taking place all year long. In fact, we note that such calls and messages usually take place over a period of days every few weeks. Nevertheless, our concern lies in the fact that throughout this period, a person might be more susceptible to being duped into 'quick moneymaking scams' or unrealistic bargains. In this regard, our advice would be to remain vigilant."


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