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Payment fraud on rise

False or illegal transactions carried out by cybercriminals have dramatically increased, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Finland. Last year, more than 15,000 cases of payment fraud were reported -- that figure represents 4,000 instances more than in 2015.

Kuvassa lompakko, joka pursuaa luottokortteja.
Preventative measures: The National Police Board recommends setting geographic restrictions on a credit or debit card and setting daily limits for how much money can be withdrawn. Image: Anssi Leppänen / Yle

Cybercriminals obtain access to card data and financial information in a range of ways. They include skimming pin codes at an ATM, copying data during a payment transaction in a shop, or through online hacking and malware programmes.

But one of the most common ways is when people unwittingly give their information directly to criminals, says Chief Superintendent Jyrki Aho of the National Police Board.

"People are far too trusting, and believe in competitions and amazing deals, or provide their personal and credit card details in e-mails without a second thought," says Aho.

Rising e-crime

As the incidence of payment fraud grows -- 15,100 cases were recorded in Finland last year, which represents a 38.5 percent increase over 2015 statistics -- Aho says he's not surprised.

"As people spend more time online, the range of online payment options has also grown," says Aho.

The Police Board stresses that it's a good idea to be aware of potential risks.

"It's better to take precautions and minimise risks," says Aho.

He recommends getting acquainted with security instructions for online banking. Then, it's possible to be proactive by placing geographic restrictions on a credit or debit card and setting daily limits of how much money can be withdrawn.

According to Statistics Finland, 43 percent of all payment fraud concerning Finnish residents in 2016 was carried out abroad.

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