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Several Finnish banks targeted in online banking scam

Criminals have flooded Google search results with fake online banking links.

Lähikuva: mies kirjoittaa kannettavalla tietokoneella.
Turun opetuksen verkkopalvelu joutui tietomurron kohteeksi 9.–12. huhtikuuta. Kuvituskuva. Image: Eleni Paspatis / Yle
Yle News

Finnish banks have urged customers not to access their online banking services via search engines. Instead, customers should type the bank's website address directly into their own browser's search bar.

The advice came after it emerged criminals had targeted several banks in Finland by flooding Google search results with fake links. According to Niko Saxholm, Director of Crime and Fraud Prevention at Finance Finland (FFI), the web pages created by the scammers are very convincing. At worst, the difference between a scam page and a genuine one could be a single character in the page's web address.

"Google favours certain kinds of content. It appears the scammers have managed to manipulate these algorithms," Saxholm said. ** **

However, Saxholm noted that there are steps everyone should always follow to keep safe online. "You should never log in to an online bank or an authority service via a link, but always from your own browser window," he said.

"A bank or official authority will never request online banking IDs via email or text message. If you receive such a message, it is a scam."

Last year, more than half a million Finns were the targets of identity theft attempts. According to a survey by security and insurance company mySafety, the number of attempts has risen sharply since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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