The new cyber suitcase scam you need to be aware of!

The Spanish Internet Security Office (OSI) has warned people about a new type of fraud growing in popularity, known as the retained suitcase scam, or suitcase fraud. In this scam, the cybercriminals pose as a family member or friend of the target and are contacted through social media sites such as Whatsapp, Messenger, Twitter and Facebook.

According to the OSI, the fraudsters pretend to be someone known to the victim who is supposedly abroad, reports ABC. They then tell the target that they are on the way to Spain and either that their suitcases are being held at the airport, or that they have missed their flight but the suitcases are on board.

The main part of the suitcase scam is what comes next, as the criminals then ask the victim to transfer money to a specified account provided, and mark the amount “customs costs”. This amount will then supposedly release the suitcases so they can be reunited with the owner.

As people can make fake profiles easily on social media, this is where the scam is really taking off. The cybercriminals skim information from people’s profiles to make the request seem more believable to the people they are taking on. Once the target believes the scam message, They are usually asked for between 500 and 1,500 euros.

To protect yourself from the suitcase scam, use multiple channels to speak to the person that is supposedly asking you for money. If they contact you on Facebook, for example, then message them on Twitter also. Speak to them if possible. Then also, speak to the company or airline who is meant to be holding the luggage. The OSI points out that “No public agent or airport agent will request the deposit of money.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon