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CARDS & PAYMENTS | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea

Korean banks fight new mobile phone scam

Korean banks are intensifying its warnings to customers about a new kind of financial fraud via mobile text messages.

The scam called SMishing has recently become rampant in the country, bank officials said.

It is a combination of short message services and phone fraud schemes known as phishing, uses mobile phone texts to lure people to access bogus Web sites with malignant codes and dupe them into revealing their bank or credit card information.

SMishing has become more prevalent due to the wide use of smartphones these days, according to the officials. As of August, about 60 percent of the population in South Korea were estimated to use smartphones.

Banks said they are on high alert to protect customers, sending out notices to employees to inform clients about such fraud cases and help them avoid becoming a victim.

"If customers suffer any financial losses due to these scams, they may lose trust in the bank," an official from top local lender KB Kookmin Bank. "We have also warned users of our Internet banking against fake text messages."

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