Fraud cases spike during pandemic
The Dutch Fraud Helpdesk reported more than 41 million euros in fraud damages last year, compared to 26 million in 2019. With an increase in online activity during the coronavirus crisis, scammers saw their chance to profit off of the situation.
A striking commonality that many cyber criminals had was that they researched their victims extensively beforehand. By extracting personal financial data prior via a phishing link or even mimicking their child’s voice through pre-recorded phone calls, scammers were able to gain their victims’ trust, the help desk said.
The help desk saw a spike in reports of the friend-in-need scam. Here, the scammer poses as a loved one of the victim who is in dire need of money. The victim is asked to send the money via a payment that is directly linked to the scammer’s bank account.
Victims most often reported falling prey to online store fraud, identity theft, and deposit fraud, where the victim is asked to send money in advance in exchange for a good or service. Deposit fraud also includes dating fraud and false loans.
The Fraud Helpdesk advised people to be careful when clicking on payment links and to always be completely certain that the person on the other end of the phone is who they claim to be. Phone numbers can be checked online if they really belong to the organization that the caller says they are from.
For more information or if you suspect you are dealing with a cybercriminal, you can contact the Fraud Helpdesk.