According to the Finnish police, online scammers have scammed victims in Finland this year for 33 million euros. This is a new record, surpassing the estimated € 25 million fraudsters taken from victims last year.
Victims are said to be the target of a wide range of online scams, including romance scams in which criminals assume a fake identity in order to win the trust of their target.
Other methods that scammers use to get people to give up their money are pretending to be a relative or a police officer.
Several Finns have also been the victims of investment fraud through cryptocurrencies, fraudulent text messages or e-mails allegedly from the bank or the national postal operator Posti, and through counterfeits of existing websites.
"There were a total of around 2,300 online frauds scammed to lose money this year, with financial losses of around € 33 million, a considerable amount." Superintendent Tuomas Pöyhönen A spokesman for the police board said.
Taking into account goods ordered but not received online, such as concert tickets and other goods, the total number of victims of fraud would rise to around 20,000.
According to police, many retirees and young adults, especially students, have lost all their savings due to online scams.
"The majority of victims, about 25%, are between the ages of 70 and 79. The next largest number – 20% of victims – are between the ages of 60 and 70, but the number of scams on men and women over the age of 20 is steadily rising." Pöyhönen added.
Users are unable to distinguish between fake and genuine websites
Email and SMS scams are especially effective when the victim is in a hurry because they use language and terminology that seems official and resembles the organization they appear to be in.
Last summer, police warned a phishing scam which caused people to share personal information, such as online banking information, on fake websites that closely resemble real banking sites.
Because it can be difficult to distinguish between fraudulent and genuine websites, customers are encouraged to use the bank’s mobile app or bookmarked pages instead.
Scammers have even developed a way to impersonate a post office effectively to target online shoppers.
"A message that says "we were unable to deliver your package, click here" appears on your phone. If you’ve previously received a package via mail, a scam message will appear in the same thread, so it looks like it was sent from the actual source. Unfortunately, criminals now have the technology and know-how to make this possible," Pöyhönen said.
Fear of cheating often prevents customers from using legitimate online services from banks, shops, and other service providers.
While this encourages companies and operators to make their services safer, Pöyhönen believes that users must also be vigilant.
He recommends contacting the bank immediately if a scam is suspected so that the account can be closed or suspended.
"It is also worth telling those close to you what happened," he added.
Source: The Nordic Page