Kaarel Paabut, head of the financial crime prevention unit of Luminor in Estonia, said: “During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic both banks and residents adapted to the situation and more and more remote services began to be offered. Unfortunately, we could see that fraudsters looking for opportunities to benefit from the new situation and defraud people of their money moved in the same direction.”
These included cases where fraudsters presenting themselves as bank employees asked people, allegedly on behalf of the bank, for data necessary for entering the internet bank.
Paabut urged residents to remember that a bank will never ask their client for their account number and payment card data, such as the number of the card and the CVC code on the reverse side of the card. Nor will a bank ask their customers for their internet bank passwords.
“When you receive such phone call, this is definitely not a call made by a bank employee, and the bank and the police should immediately be informed about it,” he said.
Also the phone number from which the call is made should be checked. While fraudsters may call from both an Estonian and a foreign phone number, it must be kept in mind that a bank employee will never make a call from a foreign phone number.
The fraudsters mostly do not speak Estonian and offer various excuses for not speaking the official language. Paabut underscored that bank employees in Estonia never refuse to communicate in the local language. Besides, the manner of communication of the fraudsters is pushy and intrusive.
If a person nevertheless has fallen victim to fraud and transferred money from their bank account or money is missing from their bank account, the bank must be notified as soon as possible.
“In the best case, it will be possible to halt the transaction and further payments. The bank also must be informed when you have lost your bankcard or it has ended up in the wrong hands. In such case the card must be blocked immediately via the internet bank or a phone call made to the bank for it to be done,” Paabut added.