The Korea Herald

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Law allows phone fraud victims to recover loss without litigation

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Published : Aug. 16, 2011 - 19:39

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Victims of phone fraud, commonly known as voice phishing, will be able to get their stolen money back within three months from the day they were victimized without undergoing litigation, the government decided Tuesday.

The government, during a Cabinet meeting, approved an enforcement ordinance of a special law on the return of money stolen in phone scams.

In voice phishing, for example, a victim receives a random phone call from a scammer posing as an official alerting them to bank account problems. Victims are then ordered to transfer their entire account balances to other accounts, which scammers siphon off. Most of the scam operators are ethnic Koreans in China who speak fluent Korean.

The damage from phone fraud has surpassed 200 billion won ($185 million) over the last three years, according to Korean prosecution data.

Victims can currently have the remittance canceled if they ask the bank involved to suspend payment from their accounts and report the case to police before scammers withdraw the money sent. But they have to undergo legal procedures that can require up to a year to restore their funds.

The special law, proclaimed in March and set to go into effect on Sept. 30, simplifies the process, allowing victims to quickly recover the money without undergoing legal procedures.

Even so, the money cannot be restored if scammers have already withdrawn it before the case is reported, officials said. The enforcement ordinance requires the victims to submit a written request to get their money back. They can also apply by phone or online in an emergency, according to the ordinance. 

(Yonhap News)