If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t
Large-scale scams are often orchestrated by international criminal organisations, but individual scammers also try to get their fingers in the pie.
The fraud offences in the statistics are also affected by how easily victims report incidents to the police. The part of offences that stay hidden may be fairly large.
The common part of scams is that you are lured into giving your money, personal information or account and credit card information without getting anything in return, or the product is not what was promised. Lost money is often very difficult to recover.
The best way to protect oneself is usually common sense. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it seldom is. Ask yourself
- why you’re being approached
- what is really wanted of you
- what risks you take by doing as you’re told?
Fraudsters are able to use psychological methods
Fraudsters appeal to people’s hopes of getting wealthy quickly, improving one’s lives or losing weight. The offer is often valid for a very short time or a limited amount of products is available. You can get a symbolic gift, after which you feel you owe a favor in return, and it’s more difficult to refuse the offer.
How to prevent fraud offences and the damage they cause:
- Suspicious letters, text or email messages or those sent by unknown persons should not be answered. Messages can be deleted like other junk mail.
- There is no such thing as free money from an honest source. Don’t believe everything you’re told, written or shown as a picture. Criminals can use high technology. The content presented can be completely fake, or it may be taken from elsewhere on the internet to use in fraud offences.
- If you have not entered a lottery, you cannot have won a prize either.
- Never give your account number or passport details to strangers.
- Never agree to cash a foreign cheque sent by post. Never agree to cash a cheque for more than the agreed sale price.
- Always be sceptical of offers in excess of the asking price.
- Avoid sending your credit card details or paying for goods using various money transfer codes.
- Look out for suspicious e-mail addresses. Legitimate businesses do not use free e-mail accounts.
A missing driver’s license, passport or identity card must be reported to the police and the bank
In many fraud crimes, your information end up in the fraudster’s possession. File a report with the police and bank, if you have lost your driver’s license, passport or identity card. You can report a missing document to the police digitally in the police’s website via online services.
If you have already transferred money to the fraudster’s account?
Immediately contact the bank you transferred the money from and inform them about the situation. File a report of an offence to the police. Sometimes a foreign bank requires a copy of the report of an offence so that they can stop the money transfer.
The police investigate and make connections - it is worth it to do a report of an offence
Different scams often end up with the police as fraud. It’s worth it to report fraud to the police, even though the chances of getting the property back are low.
By using the reports, the police are able to make connections between crimes. Often the same perpetrators have scammed many others, and the reports may help to get on their trail. Unfortunately, there is very little that the police can do to help, especially in the case of scams originating from abroad. The perpetrators in wide-spread fraud networks have, however, been caught via international cooperation.
Fraud can be punished with a fine or imprisonment
- for petty fraud a fine
- for fraud a fine or maximum of two years of imprisonment
- for aggravated fraud a minimum of four months and a maximum of four years of imprisonment
- for identity theft a fine