Over the past few weeks, the number of scam phone calls has seemingly increased with Estonians already having given out more than €7 million.
Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) northern prefecture chief Urmet Tambre said scammers have began presenting themselves as police officers. "They have taken names from the PPA website and even give a badge number. That is not the correct number, but the names are correct. That is to build trust," Tambre told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday.
Fake police officers ask people on the phone if they have taken out loans on power of attorney and if they hear it has not been done, they ask for PIN-codes to identify the person. Some scammers have said they are from the Russian police, which justifies them speaking in Russian.
"To our knowledge, these calls come from Ukraine. Just the northern prefecture alone has received 1,500 notes from people about getting such calls. There have been eight notices in November, where people have trusted their callers and given them money. Scammers continue to use well-known schemes, acting as if they are from a bank and that they have discovered a shady transfer and are now collecting data," Tambre said.
To justify the use of Russian, scammers often say the call has to do with transferring money to another country.
There are thousands of traps on social media, as well, attempting to lure gullible people into love schemes. Tambre said at least three people a year fall victim to a catfish scheme. Scammers have also begun looking at car sale portals and will call someone that has just sold their car to tell them there is an issue with the bank transfer.
There is not much hope to get your money back. "I do not think there is. The lifestyle of a scammer is to spend as much as they make," Tambre noted.
He added that people should be especially alert before Christmas, because people tend to be more easily manipulated and scammers know how to use that.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste