The Computer Emergency Readiness Team Co-ordination Centre (CERT|CC) said today it had recorded complaints from five people who had paid a total of more than Rs.1.8 million to the accounts of social media fraudsters to get their gift items released from Customs.
Its Principal Information Security Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said five instances had been reported since last December about social media fraudsters requesting gullible users to pay customs duties to get their gifts released and sent to them.
“Many use websites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber to connect with ‘friends’ most of whom are not known to them,” Mr. Chandragupta said and added that some local fake Facebook account holders even pretend to be foreigners. “They send friendly requests to other account holders in an attempt to build some kind of rapport and for chatting, share images and even send wishes and gifts to these ‘friends’ with whom they share their pain, sorrow and happiness and give advice as well. Shortly thereafter these criminals say they have received boxes containing gifts such as electrical items or jewellery saying that there is also some money in the box to pay Customs clearance fees if necessary.”
Mr Chandragupta said the fraudsters frighten the victims warning them to not to go to the Customs Department to get their gifts released and they (the fraudsters) would sorted it out by paying the customs duty and send them the money to do so.
He advised the public not to fall prey to such scams. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)