According to police, more than 100 people in Finland have fallen victim to international phone scams, with an estimated loss of over five million euros.
”This activity appears to be international. In a typical case, the victim has received a call from a number starting with +44 – the country code of Great Britain,” says Detective Inspector Marko Leponen from the National Bureau of Investigation.
However, calls have recently originated from other international and domestic numbers too.
The caller has asked the victims about their wealth and promised them access to foreign investments with considerable returns, police said.
Within a few days, the victims have been contacted by email to transfer money to a foreign bank account or a cryptocurrency exchange. Initially, the sums requested have amounted to a few hundred euros.
”In some cases, the victim was paid back double the amount soon after the initial transfer, which the con artists claimed were returns on an earlier investment,” Leponen said.
In fact, the money has not been invested in anything, police said.
While callers seem to favour middle-aged people, victims have come from all age groups, according to Leponen.
A number of victims have taken out loans for the investments and some have had remote access applications installed on their computers for payment transactions.
Last year, people were told by Finland's communications watchdog to ignore fraudulent calls from unknown foreign numbers, especially those from Samoa and Papua New Guinea.