TALLINN – Luminor Bank has urged residents of Estonia to exercise extra caution this autumn, as the pension money flowing into people's bank accounts is also making scammers more active.
The bank pointed out that various schemes are being used to defraud bank customers. One of the most common scams is to try and obtain customer data, including internet bank access and PIN codes, by pretending in a phone call or an e-mail to be someone working at the bank.
Another very common scheme is to offer people an opportunity to earn large amounts of money, for example by transferring their money into the account of an unknown company in order to invest it in a cryptocurrency. In either case, the person will most likely lose all their money.
"For many people who have decided to withdraw their money from the second pillar, this means that in this September they will suddenly have a large amount of money in their accounts," Taavi Eplik, financial crime prevention specialist at Luminor, said in a press release.
"Unfortunately, one shouldn't think that criminals who want to exploit people's good faith or negligence and get their hands on that money will not try to profit from this situation," Eplik said.
"We therefore call on everyone to be particularly careful about any schemes offering 'fast enrichment' and not to share with strangers the data needed to enter the internet bank, such as the user ID and PIN codes," he added.
Eplik emphasized that a bank never asks the customer for their account number, payment card details or online bank access passwords in a phone call. Fraudsters can call the victim from both Estonian and foreign area code numbers, but a bank employee never calls a customer from a number registered abroad.
In most cases, fraudsters do not speak Estonian and look for excuses to speak another language. Also, the way scammers communicate is often attention-grabbing, intrusive and even aggressive.
Those doubting whether the caller is indeed a bank employee should disconnect the call and call the bank's official number, which can be found on the bank's website. By explaining the situation to a real bank employee, you can find out whether the call you received really came from the bank or was part of an attempted scam.
"However, if you have fallen victim to fraud and transferred money to fraudsters or money has disappeared from your account, please notify the bank as soon as possible. In the best case scenario, the transaction and further payments can be suspended," the financial crime prevention specialist added.