A record number of scamming reports have been filed with the police in the past 24 hours, they said on Thursday.

Police said they received around 40 reports from scam victims with more than €50,000 taken from their personal accounts by fraudsters.

Since April, people have been receiving convincing text messages and emails from banks and post operators, that con people into entering their financial details online. 

In just two months, more than 400 reports from victims have been filed with the Cyber Crime Unit with the total amount taken out of personal accounts reaching around €400,000.

In the most common scam, victims receive an SMS or e-mail with the company’s logo (like DHL or MaltaPost) informing them they have received a package. 

They are given instructions to press on a link and pay an administrative fee for the package to be delivered. Once victims press the link, they are taken to a fake site where they are asked to input their credit card details.

In certain cases, they are also asked for a password. While victims think they are authorising the debit of a small amount – such as €1.60 – fraudsters use their details to debit a much bigger sum, usually between €800 and €1,800 per scam.

In a bank notification scam, victims are deceived into providing their credentials after they are informed of a “suspicious transaction”. They are requested to press on a link designed to steal their details.

This form of scam is known as phishing or SMSishing, a type of social engineering attack used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. 

The police reiterated its appeal to the public to be careful with messages and to take their time before pressing links and giving private information.

A close look at the link will show that the URL is not genuine although very close to that used by the company being used by the criminals, they said.

Scam victims should immediately notify their banks about any unauthorised transactions and file a police report.

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