Helsinki police department is investigating a highly-organised scheme that struck victims on three different occasions.
The most recent scam came to light last weekend and involved 30 victims who found themselves on the line for roughly 19,000 euros. Police have estimated that the perpetrators of the swindle may have made more than 200,000 euros.
The scheme involved getting victims to hand over their personal details and online banking information, which were then used to get instant loans. The loans were then immediately transferred to a bank account in Finland and withdrawn from ATMs in Estonia.
Police say that different individuals were used to withdraw the funds and to pass them along to others in the criminal chain. Initial information suggests that banking information from customers of Nordea and OP banks was used to apply for the payday loans.
The scam involved sending victims text messages purportedly from Posti, notifying them that a package addressed to them had been sent to the nearest pickup point. It provided a link that directed users to a phishing site, which asked them to verify their identity using their online banking codes.
"The con was professionally executed. In all of the cases, the website was available for just one weekend and many text messages were sent out then. Mules were used to withdraw the money the same weekend," Helsinki police detective Jukkapekka Risu said in a statement.