Frauds | Hundreds of Finns lost their money to a cunning swindler

The imprisoned man in his twenties is awaiting charges for more than 400 frauds, among others, in the criminal network concerning S-bank.

Police has completed the preliminary investigation related to online banking fraud. It is a case of fraud in which hundreds of Finns lost money after falling for phishing.

A man in his twenties who has been imprisoned since December is suspected of the crimes. The case has been investigated by the Central Criminal Police and the South-West Finland Police Department, who reported on the matter on Monday.

The young man is suspected of more than 400 gross payment instrument frauds. According to the police, he mainly targeted S-bank customers with phishing last year. According to the police, the victims’ losses amount to more than one million euros.

The crimes were carried out in a similar manner and mainly from abroad.

In the crime scene there was a gimmick in use, which Polliisi has warned about many times in recent years.

The police say that the victims have been made to visit fake bank websites that resemble real online banks, when the perpetrator has first sent a link to the website via text message. The text messages were made in such a way that they looked like they were sent by the bank.

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The messages then create a sense of urgency and tell the victim why they should log in to the online bank quickly via the link. The victim has entered his online banking credentials on a fake website, and the suspect has obtained the victim’s bank credentials.

“It’s about phishing bank frauds carried out with the help of fake bank websites. We are talking about cases, such as have been presented, that you should not, for example, log into online banks via text message links,” says the general director of the preliminary investigation unit, the crime commissioner, in the press release. Matti Airaksinen Central Criminal Police.

The servers of the phishing sites were located in Moldova

Thing began to be revealed last summer, when the police in Southwest Finland noticed a significant increase in phishing targeting S-bank’s customers. It soon emerged that the servers of the phishing sites were mainly located in Moldova.

Moldovan authorities and Europol came to the rescue. With the help of cooperation, the understanding of the technical way of carrying out the crimes and that the background is the same actor was strengthened. The operator was also connected to several computer network-assisted bank frauds in different parts of Finland.

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“The same young man was also involved in money laundering crimes reported in the capital region, where the predicate crimes were bank frauds,” says the team leader of the cybercrime investigation team of the Southwest Finland Police Department, crime police constable Jami Toivonen.

At the same time, the police departments of Helsinki, Inner Finland, Southwestern Finland and Eastern Uusimaa were after the same suspect, and therefore the investigation of bank fraud was concentrated in the investigation team of the Central Criminal Police and the Southwestern Finland police.

The suspect was arrested in December 2022 and he has been incarcerated since then on suspicion of gross payment instrument fraud. There are a total of 421 of them, and the case has moved to prosecution.

To the whole there is another part involved, suspected money laundering in the capital region

The police suspect that several different money launderers have assisted the victims of bank fraud in disappearing their funds into foreign accounts and virtual currencies. Funds have also been recycled from accounts that had been taken over by bank fraud.

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“The person suspected of gross payment instrument fraud is also suspected of having a role in organizing the laundering of the proceeds of crime. In addition to the accounts brought under control through crimes, according to police information, several other persons have been recruited into money laundering activities, including young people, who have been lured in by downplaying the responsibility related to money laundering,” says the head of the investigation, criminal inspector Jukkapekka Risu From the Helsinki Police Department.

The exceptionality of the whole can be seen in the police’s crime statistics. In this single entity, more than 400 gross payment instrument frauds were brought to prosecution, which corresponds to approximately the same number as the whole of last year.

“Crime exploiting information networks challenges traditional crime prevention arrangements. Crimes like this are largely professional and organized crime and planned in such a way that it would be as difficult as possible to investigate and solve the crimes,” says Airaksinen.

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