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Fake cop scams on the rise

Fraudsters have suckered hundreds of thousands of euros from senior citizens by posing as police officers.

Verkkopankin tunnuslukukortti näppäimistön päällä.
Image: Yle

Criminals fronting as cops have extracted more than half a million euros from elderly residents in Finland this year, said Finance Finland, which represents banks, insurance companies and other financial service providers in the country.

These types of scams grew exponentially and became more organised in 2017, according to the organisation. This year Finnish law enforcement has investigated 400 fake police scams designed to rip off victims, said the National Police Board.

Finance Finland’s Head of Loss Prevention and Security, Risto Karhunen, said some victims have been threatened and pressured over long periods of times.

“One victim was told by a swindler over the phone that due to ‘an emergency situation’ the police needed their online banking information. The victim hesitated first, but finally caved in. The criminals were able to steal more than 100,000 euros, which has yet to be recovered,” he said.

Finance Finland points out that police or banking authorities would never request access to online accounts.

“If there truly is an emergency and quick access to a bank account is needed, the authorities have the means to get it,” Karhunen adds.

He proposes that people talk to their older relatives and friends who may be vulnerable to fraud. In addition, Karhunen said that as a precaution, users should place daily spending limits on their bank accounts and credit cards.

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