Finnish citizens have lost millions of euros this year in various scams. At the same time, banks have been successful in combating scams more than ever. Scammers continually develop new methods and increasingly use social manipulation. For Nordea, insights from other Nordic countries provide an opportunity to effectively prepare for new types of scams.
Various scams have exploded in numbers this year. Simultaneously, Finnish banks have been more successful in thwarting scams.
According to financial industry statistics, during the first half of 2023, banks prevented and recovered €15.9 million for victims of scams. This is more than double the amount compared to the same period the previous year.
"Our observations indicate that scammers are not slowing down in the latter part of the year either. However, we have clearly kept up the pace: as scam numbers have grown, we have been able to prevent them more than last year. The trend is similar in other Nordic countries as well," says Sara Mella, Head of Personal Banking at Nordea.
In Finland, various sectors are working hard to keep citizens safe from scam attempts. Increasing awareness of different scams is crucial. Nordic collaboration provides Nordea with a unique view of how fraud evolves in different market areas.
"Fraud trends and criminal methods often spread from one bank to another and from one region to another. What we may not yet see in Finland could be a significant phenomenon, for example, in Sweden. It's important that we know what to prepare for. We also actively communicate with our customers because knowledge and expertise enhance security," says Mella.
Scammers Continuously Develop New Methods – Monitoring AI Usage Closely
Although many scams and scam attempts follow similar patterns, new methods are constantly emerging. For example, hybrid scams, a combination of a message and a phone call, arrived in Finland during the past summer.
"In new scams, there's an emphasis on manipulating the victim so that they unwittingly act actively in favor of the fraudster, such as making payment transactions themselves. The scammer may also instruct the victim to respond in a specific way if the bank asks about transactions, aiming to prevent the fraud and situation from continuing," describes Sara Helin, an expert in Nordea's fraud prevention unit.
There have been examples of scams produced by artificial intelligence worldwide, but they have not yet become as prevalent in the Nordic countries. AI can be harnessed to steal voice and produce video and audio material that doesn't actually exist. For example, a call from one's own child with a video element is much more convincing than a text message.
"We closely monitor the situation in the Nordic countries. Cases suspected of involving AI are investigated thoroughly. So far, we haven't identified any confirmed cases," says Helin. Patience is Key – Protecting Yourself from Scams
It's possible to protect oneself from scams by remembering a few simple pieces of advice.
"The most important rule to remember is that patience is key. Scammers often appeal to urgency and urge you to act quickly, but there's always time to verify before taking action," reminds Helin.