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Norway public warned over ID card phishing scam

Over 500,000 scam calls have been made to Norwegian numbers this week as part of a large phishing scam, mobile network operator Telia has warned.

A person on their smartphone.
The scam calls appear as if they are coming from a Norwegian number, despite it actually being a foreign number. Pictured is somebody on their phone. Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

Telia this week uncovered a massive volume of scam calls made to Norwegian mobile phone numbers.

The scam calls are being made from foreign numbers, which appear to be Norwegian at first glance because they begin with +47. However, they are actually foreign numbers as the +47 is followed by nine digits rather than eight, which is the standard for numbers in Norway.

When people pick up the call, they are told that there has been a security breach concerning their ID card and that the recipient of the call should “press 1 to continue”.

If they do press 1, they are forwarded to someone posing as a security professional, who is instead a scammer phishing for sensitive information.

“In the worst case, they will try and steal your money,” Øyvind Kristiansen, who works to prevent fraud at Telia, told broadcaster NRK.

Earlier this week, phone fraud was reported to be more prevalent in Norway than the other Nordics.

READ MORE: Phone fraud more prevalent in Norway than other Nordics

Telia said that on Thursday afternoon, it had managed to put a solution in place that should be able to block the majority of these incoming calls.

The network operator has said that it has seen this method of scam and a large volume of calls used before.

It also said it advised people not to provide sensitive information over the phone.

“If someone pretends to be your bank and seems suspicious, hang up and call the number the bank provides on its website,” Kristiansen advised.

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Telenor warns customers in Norway of new scam 

A sharp increase in fraudulent MMS messages, which allow scammers access to victims' phones, has been detected by Norwegian mobile network operator Telenor over the past few days. 

Telenor warns customers in Norway of new scam 

Telenor has warned customers of a large number of scam messages which have been sent to users over the past few days. 

Telenor discovered the fraudulent messages at the end of last week. Scammers have been sending the messages via MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service rather than a standard text to avoid the network’s automatic blocking program. 

“When we close one door, the hackers try to open another,” Thorbjørn Busch, senior security advisor at Telenor, told public broadcaster NRK.

The scam is intended to trick people into clicking a link they receive. The link will lead to an app being downloaded on your phone. 

The virus app that is installed is called Flubot. The app gives hackers complete access to a phone and forwards fraudulent messages from the device to others, often without the user knowing. 

“They want to get you to do things you normally do over the phone. For example, tracking a package, listening to voicemail or watching a video of you online,” Busch explained. 

Android phones are especially vulnerable to the Flubot virus, according to the security advisor. 

“If you have an Android phone, the hackers can, in the worst case, take over your entire phone. With the consequences it can have, this is very serious, and Flubot is especially aimed at Android phones,” Busch said. 

IOS users aren’t safe either, as the virus tries to get iPhone users to hand over sensitive information. 

Typically the only way to remove the virus from the phone is a hard reset, which wipes all data, messages and pictures from the phone. 

Telenor has advised customers to not click on any suspicious links or download apps that do not come from official stores such as the App Store on Apple and Google Play for Android customers.