Latvians lost at least EUR 12.7 million to scammers last year

Last year, a total of 12.7 million euros were defrauded from clients of the four largest commercial banks in Latvia, while a potential amount of 9.2 million euros was prevented from being stolen in scam schemes, according to data compiled by the Finance Latvia Association (FLA) January 29.

Last year, more than 5.6 million euros were illegally obtained as a result of investment fraud and almost the same amount – 5.5 million euros – as a result of telephone fraud.

These statistics refer to cases where customers have themselves approved payments from their accounts. It should be noted that the number of investment fraud cases has increased rapidly – 84% more than in 2022.

At the same time, the proportion of fraud prevented is also increasing, with 64% more attempted fraud prevented in 2023 than in 2022. FLA stresses that cases of investment fraud can be prevented more often, as also confirmed by statistics – the financial sector has managed to prevent cases amounting to EUR 5.3 million in monetary terms, together with the State Police. It is more difficult to prevent cases of telephone fraud and the amount of cases prevented in monetary terms is less – EUR 3.3 million.

FLA points out that the fight against fraudsters needs to take place on a significantly larger scale, working closely together and seeking solutions from each of the parties involved. For example, greater involvement of telecom operators, whose services are often used by criminals for counterfeiting telephone numbers and websites, is also desirable.

“Financial fraud is currently a problem in all developed countries and Latvia is not in a unique situation in this regard. The scale of fraud may even be considered to have reached crisis levels without a simple solution.

“Banks are continually investing in improving security systems that help prevent various attempts at fraud, but it is important to emphasize that it is not always possible to recover the money,” said Sanita Bajāre, chairwoman of the Board of the Finance Latvia Association.

The public should therefore remember that their personal and banking data should not be transferred to third parties. “If someone requests them, it's best to think seven times why and for what purposes they are asked. At the moment, different technologies can mimic the voices of known people, calls can be masked and recipients seem genuine, so for security reasons, it's better to interrupt the conversation and make sure you're not one of the victims of fraudsters,” advises Bajāre.

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