Phone fraud on the rise

Smartphone. Source: ERR

Bank fraud is becoming a growing concern as people have been taken for over €800,000 this year. While monthly incidents numbered 25-30 last summer, there have already been over 50 cases a month this year.

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Estonian Banking Association recommend people exercise critical thinking and simply hang up when a caller appears suspicious.

Sums lost to phone schemes are growing. Paul Pihelgas, head of the PPA's fraudulent conduct and economic crime department, said that no average victim can be described, while criminals usually target people speaking Russian as their first language.

"We are forced to admit that the figures are growing. This type of crime started going up last summer and it keeps growing. If we had 25-30 monthly cases last summer, we are talking 50-60 cases a month now," Pihelgas said.

"Bank fraud damages for this year total €800,000, up year-on-year."

The criminals use different excuses to fish for people's data, including personal codes, bank user identifiers or credit card numbers.

Head of the information security committee of the Estonian Banking Association Tiit Hallas said that crooks are after information bank employees never ask customers for.

"Various social schemes are used to try and have people reveal their user identifiers or passwords or coax them into entering their Mobile-ID or Smart-ID PIN1, PIN2 numbers," Hallas said.

The cybersecurity specialist said that victims are often treated to very convincing speeches and told that there has been suspicious activity on their account. "And in order to put an end to these suspicious movements or transactions, people need to reveal their personal information," he described.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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