The Central Bank of Malta is receiving eight to ten reports daily from residents who have received scam calls via smartphone messaging app Viber.
A spokesperson from the bank warned people to be on their guard against the scam, which has picked up the pace over the past weeks.
The scam is a classic example of what is known as a phishing attempt: impersonating a trusted entity in order to obtain sensitive personal information which can be used to defraud someone.
Victims receive a call on Viber from a contact named ‘Central Bank of Malta’, sometimes with a photo of the bank’s Valletta premises as its profile photo. In reality, the number is not linked to the Central Bank and may be a foreign number.
Recipients are told that their account number or other personal information is needed to solve “problems” and warned that their credit cards may be blocked. The caller also asks recipients for their card PIN, a Central Bank spokesperson explained.
“The Central Bank does not offer bank accounts or credit cards to the public,” said the spokesperson.
The Central Bank had first issued a warning on the Viber scam last month. While police have been alerted, the scam continues to affect people.
“Unfortunately, these scammers are now telling people that the Central Bank is responsible for all the banks in Malta and therefore asks for the details of all their cards,” the spokesperson said.
“We advise the public to be on the lookout for such scams and to never provide any information about their accounts or PIN numbers to anyone over the phone.”
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