Scammers in Laos Impersonate Business Owners to Dupe Victims

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Business individuals in Laos warn new scam on WhatsApp in Laos.

Business owners and entrepreneurs in Laos have spoken out about an online scam that uses fake profiles of actual individuals to defraud victims on WhatsApp.

Scammers use local phone numbers registered in Laos with the country’s phone code (+856 20) and images of Laos-based business figures to increase their credibility and persuade victims to transfer money or send a gift card.

A recent victim was persuaded by a scammer who wanted the victim to purchase and send information of ten iTunes gift cards with a total value of USD 50 and also promised to reimburse them for the same.

The scammers in conversation with the victim.

Another person whose identity was stolen, requested to remain anonymous but confirmed to the Laotian Times that scammers used his identity to contact and defraud his close coworkers on WhatsApp.

“I understand using my photo and name, that’s easy to come across, but how did they know who is in my contacts? Checking my phone, I discovered that only a Lao mobile application had access to my contacts. Were my personal and confidential details accessed via that application?” he said.

The victim said that he had installed a secure anti-virus program on his phone, but he had been hacked and he believed that his contact information got leaked via a local app.

Banks have also urged Lao residents to remain cautious about the WhatsApp phishing scam, in which fraudulent individuals pose as a Lao commercial bank and threaten to close the customer’s bank account if they refuse to provide personal information.