Russian-speaking fraud on Skype

It used to be a common scam: Russian cybercriminals would send an SMS like: “Mom, I’m in trouble. Please, transfer me some funds. I will explain it properly when I get home”. A whole bunch of friends and relatives got suckered by this fraud, believing that the message had genuinely come from someone close to them.

Fortunately, Russian mobile operators cracked down hard on this, forcing the criminals to give up. But now they’ve moved on to Skype. Yesterday I got this Skype message from one of my contacts:

skype_best

Translation of the text:
Hey. I’m on a trip right now and I can’t get to a payment terminal and top up my balance. Could you please transfer 100 rubles – or even better 200 – to the number  +7925XXXXXXX? I can’t think of anyone else who could help me. It would really do me a big favor! I pay you back as soon as I get home!!

What happened? The cybercriminals stole my contact’s password, probably using password stealing malware. Suddenly, even a Skype account without any money attached is worth something to a crook.

The victim will never see that couple of hundred rubles again. The number mentioned belongs to the cybercriminals, not to the Skype account-holder. It’s impossible to say how many people fall victim to this kind of social engineering fraud, but in general we know that social engineering is an effective trick for scammers.

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There are 2 comments
  1. CanDidCanOn

    I have seen this, except that someone sent this message from my account to some of my contacts.

    Do you have a specific malware in mind that targets Skype users? What is the name of this malware?

    I have scanned my Windows machine for viruses/rootkits and found nothing. Since I have Skype installed on my Android tablet, I wonder if there is an Android malware that scammers are using for this purpose.

    Below is a link to Skype community forum thread I created about it.

    http://community.skype.com/t5/Security-Privacy-Trust-and/Vulnerability-Spam-sent-to-my-contacts-from-my-account/td-p/3663757

  2. AnNordin

    I got the same thing today, my account was sending this kind of messages to people from my list. And as I can see in Skype community, more people are suffering from it.
    Apart from changing the password, do you think it’s worth talking to Megafon or to Skype or to police to try and identify these people?

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