Electric Corporation customers targeted by phishing scam

This isn't the first time IEC customers have been targeted by fraud.

Israel Electric Corporation (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Electric Corporation
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A fraud attempt by a person impersonating a representative of the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) was circulated on the internet, leading the company to publish a clarification message on Saturday. This is a well-known scam that the company and its customers encounter from time to time.
A statement issued by the company states that "IEC is asking for customers' attention: In the last hour, the company received alerts from customers who received a request to update details amid threats to suspend their accounts. This seems to be a scam. The IEC did not distribute any message in this spirit and therefore the message should not be related to."
The suspicious email that reached customers is displayed as if it was sent on behalf of "Electricity Account Error Detection" and bears the subject line: "Account Suspension Notice: Some of the information in your account appears to be missing or incorrect."
The body of the email read: "Please update your information immediately so you can continue to enjoy all the benefits of your account. If you do not update your information within two days, we will temporarily suspend your account."
One of the customers to whom the email reached said: "It is good that clarification messages are issued on behalf of the company, although this was not the first time and probably won't be the last. It has nothing to do with the IEC. It's a blow to everyone and it's time to be vigilant, especially after hackers hacked into the computers of the Shirbit insurance company and demanded ransom."
In June 2018, another attempt was made to defraud IEC customers, which even led to overcharging of customers' credit cards. One of the customers, a resident of the center of the country, was charged NIS 2,344 without his approval for overcharging. The electricity company then explained that this was a sophisticated fraud network that stole credit card numbers and used them to pay its electricity bills."
In September of that year, the company announced that an attempt had been made to phish details from its customers via an email stating that a malfunction had occurred in the company's servers and that the customer must provide his details again. "Avoid disclosing any credit card details," the company emphasized.
In January 2018, a number of IEC customers discovered that their credit card had been charged double and more in amounts of thousands of shekels, far beyond their current consumption amounts.
The relative ease with which this is done indicates that the private and public companies in Israel face a great deal of work until they reach, if ever, a situation in which they can prevent fraud.
Credit card details are worth a fortune for crooks, and many Israelis find it difficult to keep track of their expenses, with some not trying at all. Over the weekend, data from the SHVA (Automatic Bank Services) company were published, showing that last Friday there was a sharp increase of about 30% in credit card expenses compared to the same day last year, when the country was in lockdown.
Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Israelis spent about NIS 708 million on credit card purchases. The busiest minute was 12:52 p.m., during which expenses of about NIS 2.8 million were recorded in the SHVA systems.