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Well-organised criminals trick companies out of millions

International scammers have thrown themselves at Danish companies with false invoices and flawless Danish, and within a few years, the number of fraud cases has tripled. Digitalisation forces companies to be extra careful. 
According to Kim Aarenstrup, chief of the Cyber Crime Centre (NC3) at the Danish National Police, there has been a threefold increase in the number of IT fraud cases between 2009 and 2015. Photo: The Danish Police Union.

Publiceret: 01.02.2017
Af Laura Flader mail

While digitalisation has made the everyday life of bank employees more secure, criminals have found new victims.

A particularly hard-hit group is Danish companies, among which the number of fraud cases is drastically rising.

“It’s a matter of several hundred million kroner a year in Denmark, and in the period 2009-2015, the number of cases reported has tripled. It’s a global development, where primarily European and Western countries are affected,” says Kim Aarenstrup, chief of the Cyber Crime Centre (NC3) at the Danish National Police.

The Danish National Police does not have precise statistics on the total extent of fraud. In addition to the reported cases, there is the dark figure for all the attacks that are not reported to the police, either because the companies are keeping a low profile or have not yet discovered the fraud.

See also: EUR 500 popular among Danish criminals

Everyone must be alert

Digitalisation has made it necessary for all companies to safeguard their IT security. This is critical because criminals exploit digital opportunities to hack into confidential systems and examine employees on social media.

“We must, in step with digitalisation, be very aware of the new threats generated. It isn’t enough to handle the threat verbally. One must also secure systems technically, for example through technical checks and automatic detection of abnormal behaviour,” says Kim Aarenstrup.

According to the Danish National Police, it is random who becomes the victim of fraud, depending on its type.  All companies must therefore be alert to the constant risk and know the warning signs.

“Companies continue to fall for scams because scammers are becoming more skilled at using reliable methods,” Kim Aarenstrup explains.

Professional and cynical scammers

Today, only the disappointment remains in Svenstrup.
The town is home to Scandinavian No-Dig Centre ApS, who thought they had received a huge order from a Chinese company. 

“The company contacted us and quickly placed a large order, whereupon we went to China and got all the contracts stamped and signed. We then had to pay a long series of smaller sums in order for everything to go through as quickly as possible,” explains Søren Nielsen, CEO at Scandinavian No-Dig Centre.

When the trail to the Chinese suddenly went ice cold, it became clear that the company had been subject to what is known as a “big order scam”.

“Even with twenty years of experience in sales, we fell for their scam. It was very professionally and cynically set up, and the whole ordeal with the stamping of papers meant that right up to the end, I simply couldn’t believe that it was fraud,” says Søren Nielsen.

See also: Top economist wants to get rid of big banknotes

Cooperation will break the trend

According to Kim Aarenstrup, the number of cases will not decrease until a proper cooperation has been established between companies and police across national borders.

“We need to be better at preventing and combating these types of crime. If we are able to establish a cooperation, this will ultimately have a diminishing effect,” he says.

If the damage has been done, it is important to react quickly. 

“The sooner you discover the scam, the greater chance there is of getting the money back entirely or partially. For every hour that passes, the likelihood of halting the payment declines, and the loss will therefore be greater,” says Kim Aarenstrup.

See also: The processing of data cannot be prioritised highly enough

FACTS
How to detect fraud
- Be alert if the sender writes/says that the transfer needs to take place very quickly.

- Scammers use social aspects to exert pressure. They might e.g. use personal information from social media.
- Scammers who pretend to be the company's CEO often state that transfers are “top secret”, e.g. in relation to acquisitions or impact on share prices.

- Scammers inform the company that employees can get the transfer verified by contacting a lawyer who will confirm the authenticity of the transfer. The specified lawyer’s email and/or phone is then administered by the scammers themselves. It is therefore important that the validation of a large transfer takes place through an internal resource.
Source: Danish National Police

It’s a matter of several hundred million kroner a year in Denmark, and in the period 2009-2015, the number of cases reported has tripled. It’s a global development, where primarily European and Western countries are affected.
KIM AARENSTRUP, CHIEF OF THE CYBER CRIME CENTRE (NC3) AT THE DANISH NATIONAL POLICE
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PUBLISHED: 2/1/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 2/1/2017