Police in Eastern Uusimaa say they’ve found 25 cases of ‘fake cop’ scams in the last few months, mostly targeting older people.
The victims have lost an estimated tens of thousands of euros to the fraudsters.
Police say that in most of the cases the scammers have researched old people’s home address and phone numbers, then contacted them pretending to be officers and claiming their bank account details have been compromised.
“These are fully organized crimes. Scammers make tens, even hundreds, of calls every day to older people all over Finland and pose as police officers. They claim that older people’s
credit card information has got into the wrong hands, and try to trick them into giving them internet banking IDs for example” says Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Minkkinen from Eastern Uusimaa Police.
Police say even if the scammers fail to get the secret banking details, they might pressure elderly people to withdraw money or deliver cash to a particular place.
Officers say victims have even been ordered to throw their bank cards and bank IDs down from their balconies.
“These cheats have been very imaginative, and these type of criminals are very good at talking. We know of situations where the senior citizens have been been aware of the unusual phone requests, but they caller has somehow managed to talk them round anyway. But police will never ask for online banking IDs, account information or credit card information on the phone” insists Minkkinen.
Difficulties in alerting potential victims
One challenge that police have had to raise awareness about these sort of scams is the difficulty to reach the most vulnerable elderly people through the media or social media alone.
So officers have started cooperation directly with municipalities to get the message across through social services to seniors.
“That is why it is very important to remind people of these possible scams targeting their older relatives from time to time” Detective Chief Inspector Minkkinen says.