Conmen have withdrawn money and made bank transfers worth around €500,000 using account codes from duped Finnish victims, mainly females, through a phishing scheme, the Helsinki Times reported Saturday.
Since police first reported the scheme a month ago, law enforcement agencies have managed to recover about €190,000 for the victims.
The criminals gained bank access codes by sending text messages and emails in the name of debt collection and customs agencies, among others.
The messages say the recipient has left an invoice unpaid and will receive a payment default entry unless the bill is paid immediately. The victim is then led to sign in with his or her bank access codes on a website created by the scammers.
In reality, the unpaid invoice doesn’t exist. If the victim signs in with bank access codes on the hoax website, the conmen then withdraw or transfer money from the account.
Detective Superintendent Jukkapekka Risu from the Helsinki Police said, “Within the last month, 95 percent of the victims have been women.”
Finland has jailed six people for money laundering in connection with earlier phishing schemes.
The main suspect in the current scheme — a young Finnish man whose name hasn’t been released — was already convicted in absentia. He has a history of web fraud and previously served jail time.
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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.