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FIU investigating “spear phishing scams”

In the wake of Belizeans receiving emails that resemble “spear phishing scams”, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has issued an alert for the public to be aware of these scams that are being committed by cyber criminals. Last month, Heritage Bank saw it necessary to close its online services for a short period since its customers were targeted by the scam. Phishing scam uses electronic means to contact victims posing as a reputable organization in order to get the victim to provide sensitive data such as banking and credit card information for malicious purposes. According to the release,the FIU is working with the Central Information Technology Office, elements of the Belize Police Department and the banking sector and its supervisory authority the Central Bank to remedy the situation. Furthermore, it urges the public to exercise the following measures in order to diminish the risk of being a victim such as never reply to email messages that request your personal information and be suspicious of any email that sends your personal information and asks you to update or confirm. The FIU advises persons to secure their personal information by upgrading security protocols including passwords. Moreover, the release noted that residents are being recruited via social media to harvest the proceeds of these crimes and to send the funds to criminal third parties. The FIU is in the process of investigating reports of phishing schemes and will prosecute perpetrators and accomplices.