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Older persons particularly vulnerable to cyber criminals – total losses already €2.1 million

Information security now!

Spring 2021 has been lucrative for cyber criminals in Finland. They have managed to steel online banking and credit card credentials and transfer large sums of money from their victims’ bank accounts. Criminals have targeted, in particular, persons aged 60 years and older. Total losses by all victims already amount to EUR 2.1 million. It is important to be very careful when using online banking services and accepting payments.

Cyber criminals have been particularly active this spring in phishing banking and credit card credentials. The customers of several Finnish banks have been targeted.

Unfortunately, these phishing attempts have often succeeded, and Finnish victims have already lost a total of EUR 2.1 million to criminals. “The figure is record high. Approximately 250 offences have been reported to the police,” says Chief Superintendent Tuomas Pöyhönen from the National Police Board of Finland.

The scams have targeted particularly people over the age of 60, but no one is safe from the phenomenon and the risk of losing money.

“Right now, it is especially important to keep one’s online banking credentials and credit card details safe,” says Information Security Adviser Ville Kontinen from the National Cyber Security Centre Finland at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom).

Scam types

There are three typical ways criminals may try to steal your online banking credentials:

  1. You receive an email message that seems to be sent by your bank. The message includes a link that you are requested to open to log in to your online banking service.
  2. You receive an SMS that seems to be sent by your bank. The message includes a link that you are requested to open to log in to your online banking service.
  3. Search engine optimization. You search for your online banking service with a search engine (e.g. Bing or Google). Your search engine results include one (advertisement/link) that will direct you to a fake bank website maintained by criminals.

How to protect yourself

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself and help others:

  1. Never log in to your online banking service using a link you have received via SMS or email.
  2. Use your bank’s mobile application.
  3. Add your bank’s website to your browser bookmarks or favourites.
  4. Talk to your friends and family about the phenomenon.

If you have entered your banking credentials on a phishing website, do as follows:

  1. Contact your bank immediately.
  2. Report the offence to the police.
  3. Talk to your friends and family about the phenomenon.

ENQUIRIES

Ville Kontinen, Information Security Adviser, National Cyber Security Centre at Traficom, firstname.lastname(at)traficom.fi
Media contacts for Traficom, tel. +358 29 534 5648

Tuomas Pöyhönen, Chief Superintendent, National Police Board of Finland, firstname.lastname(at)poliisi.fi
Media contacts for the National Police Board of Finland, tel. +358 50 399 9039 (Mon–Fri 8.00–16.15)