The Western Uusimaa Police Department HQ in Espoo (Image: Lehtikuva)

News in brief

FINNISH POLICE AUTHORITIES have issued warnings over an alarming increase in scams across the country that are designed to take advantage of people's fears over the COVID-19 virus. Evidence has suggested that older people are at particular risk of being targeted by con-artists. 

The police issued a statement detailing the surge in reports related to coronavirus-related fraud, in which they describe Uusimaa as being the worst-affected region for such criminal activity. Common scams include fraudsters approaching people's residences and posing as health authorities or food delivery services in order to carry out robberies.

There have also been reports of individuals and groups posing as "coronavirus inspectors" and requesting to inspect homes for traces of the virus. As of this writing, there have been at least 3 cases where 'air filtering equipment' has been installed in people's homes, only for residents to realize later that cash, watches, and jewelry were stolen by the people posing as workers. 

Police have urged people to be vigilant and to exercise "healthy suspicion" if a stranger appears at their front door offering coronavirus-related advice or assistance. Finnish police authorities do not conduct any inspections related to coronavirus, nor do they perform any kind of door-to-door inspections, therefore anyone attempting to inspect your home for coronavirus-related reasons should be treated with extreme caution. 

There has also been a reported upsurge in cybercrime in Finland, with criminals posing as online food delivery services or health authorities in order to access financial information and install malware on computers. 

Police authorities also published a series of social media posts in an attempt to highlight common scams to look out for. 

In related news, police authorities have also warned against Finnish people using their digital reporting tool for unnecessary reasons. Petri Eronen, of the Eastern Usimaa Police Department, tweeted that people should stop "unnecessarily loading" the reporting tool with calls about things that are not crimes, citing an instance of a member of the public reporting an expert panelist speaking on a Finnish TV show as a crime. 


Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image Credit: Lehtikuva