Fraudsters seeking profit from emergency situation, police warns

Smartphone. Photo is illustrative.
Smartphone. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is warning the public of three fraud schemes exploiting the coronavirus emergency situation.

Three types of fraud schemes can be distinguished, PPA Northern Prefecture head Kristian Jaani told ERR's online news in Estonian.

The authorities are aware of a phishing campaign, in which elderly people are asked to give out their bank account details and ID numbers. "In principle, this means that anyone could enter the bank account and withdraw all of the funds," Jaani said.

Another scheme sees fraudsters calling people to offer a service for disinfecting houses or apartments, and inquiring when people may be at home.

In the third approach, fraudsters send out an e-mail, making it seem like an official notice from the state. Jaani gave an example of an e-mail requesting to click on a hyperlink in order to get instructions regarding coronavirus. In reality, clicking the hyperlink would infect the computer with malware.

The PPA has received daily individual notifications from across the country regarding scam calls and are trying to determine their sources. Calls have been made from different numbers, and callers have reportedly spoken Estonian.

Jaani appealed to people that if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam, and these offers should be considered with significant suspicion.

Fraudsters and crooks tend to exploit moments of weakness in society and are motivated to make easy money from the situation, Jaani added. According to the PPA, no one has yet fallen victim to these scams.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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