During January – July, the number of minor fraud cases reported to the police increased by 44 per cent year-on-year. Konsta Arvelin, the police inspector of the Police Board, suspects that the increase will be explained by increased internet consumption in exceptional circumstances. At the same time, serious fraud also increased somewhat.

- It can be said brutally that whenever something new comes up in society, the market is equally open to the underworld. Demand creates supply in that way as well, Arvelin says.

Since minor frauds most often speak of embezzlement of a few dozen or hundreds, he thinks Arvel’s type of crime is far more common than that recorded by the police. The victim may not feel the amount lost is worth reporting a crime.

- However, it is important to remember that most often the perpetrators simultaneously commit dozens of different fraud crimes and enjoy dozens of revenue streams.

According to Arvelin, the perpetrators of fraud are a long-standing domestic factor. Although the phenomenon of crime has intensified during the corona, domestic criminals do not use non-existent care products in their marketing, for example. Most often, victims are traded in electronics and cell phones.

- Scammers sell anything depending on the consumer. I remember a couple of years ago one case where the same tractor had been traded no matter how many and quite a few had wanted to buy it for themselves. There was never a tractor. There was only a picture online. It cost thousands of euros to the author, who was then caught.

The police inspector warns that when shopping online, the consumer should only use certified sales sites. When making a purchase, you should not enter card information directly on the website, but pay for the product through a separate payment service.

The services will arrange payment transactions and may also stop payment in good time if the transaction is found to be fraudulent.

- In these cases, the simple rule applies that if something on the internet is too good to be true, it very often is just that. If a product seems suspiciously cheap, you should also keep in mind your own responsibility.

In some cases, criminals actually deliver a low-cost purchase to a customer to quickly get rid of the property they have seized. According to the police inspector, a customer who guesses the game of whistleblowing at the time of payment may thus knowingly contribute to the money laundering of criminals.

- After all, we have separate concealment offenses criminalized in the Penal Code and concealment offenses that the buyer can commit.

According to Arvelin, perpetrators of fraud on domestic platforms are often caught. For example, the largest domestic online auctions cooperate with the police and hand over the IP address of a user suspected of a crime to be traced. According to the police inspector, not all actors in the industry are by any means “internet wizards”.

Konsta Arvelin, Police Inspector of the Police Board.

Photo: Police

It is much more difficult to trace a factor if the crime has taken place abroad. According to Arvelin, in these cases the investigation is hampered by more limited access to information and the investment country's own legislation.

During the corona spring, crimes in which the perpetrators had acted as corona inspectors and stalked the property of the elderly with their false inspection visits rose to the headlines. Police in southwestern Finland said on Monday that a similar incident had recently occurred in Turku.

This time, the scammer had appeared as a protective mask dealer instead of an inspector. On Tuesday, Director of Investigation Jussi Helesvirta told Ilta-Sanomat that he suspected that the fraudster had committed, among other things, payment instrument fraud.

  • Read more: The scammer appeared as a mask dealer and took the elderly man's money

However, according to Arvelin, scammers arriving at the front door have dramatically reduced spring reading with police briefings and media attention. Instead, online romance fraud maintained its strong position among crimes. According to the police inspector, the criminal proceeds of cases brought to the attention of the police this year are about 3 million euros.