Region, Police News

Scammers Claim to be Finance Ministry Officials and Hack Guanacaste Accounts

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It all starts with a simple phone call from someone that claims to be a finance ministry official. They will say that they are following up on the electronic invoice procedures and that they need you to take a course in order to continue with the process.

They will sound so professional that they will even talk to you about shareholders of your company or mention names that sound familiar so that you won’t doubt that they are officials doing their jobs.

This is how the latest scam works and at least two Guanacaste organizations have already fallen victim. According to testimony from their accountants, the phony officials are very nice and professional and offer help with new procedures.

They will ask you to download a program that turns into a mirror of your computer. “Mirror” programs are called that because they are designed to reflect the exact image of your desktop.

The program is spyware that will show the scammer on the other end of the line all the information that you enter.

The program has different names, but two of them that have already been identified are Need Desk and Any Desk. Once downloaded, scammers will ask you to enter your banking password and then the victim will begin receiving emails from their bank confirming a series of transfers to different accounts.

The finance ministry warned about these cams in June.  They said that their officials will never request private company information nor passwords for bank accounts via email. “It’s very easy to get confused,” said one of the victims. “They told me, ‘don’t tell me your password out loud because I can get fired. Just enter it into the system.’”

Another victim, who refused to enter her password, said that she hung up when she realized that it was a scam, but they called her back to insist that the procedure is mandatory and that it was for her own security.

“Since I didn’t want to give them more information, they insulted me and then hung up,” she said.

In comments to newspaper La Nación, president of the public accountants professional association said that no procedure related to the finance ministry’s electronic invoice program is done via phone.