Commencing today, the ‘Watch out for online scams’ campaign aims to warn consumers of scammers operating online. Everyone using the Internet should keep in mind that if something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
The number of different online scams and subscription traps has gone up in recent years. Scammers are also more skilled than before and are, therefore, harder to identify. You can become targeted for a scam online, via e-mail or using a mobile device. In 2017, nearly 12,000 cases of online fraud were reported to the police. Last year, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority was contacted 1,453 times concerning online scams and subscription traps.
For example, scams may involve the fraudulent use of various brands and company names. Messages may be sent under the guise of a well-known company, or they may have brand logos attached without permission. The aim is to collect confidential information, e.g. using surveys and invitations to participate to spread malware or to ensnare the respondent with unreasonable contract terms and conditions.
A typical example of online fraud is offering property for sale, when the seller does not factually possess said property or does not intend to actually sell the property. The price for the offered product is usually much lower than what the product would normally sell for. Sales scammers usually have a more or less credible explanation for why the price is so low. In addition, the seller often tries to rush the sale, on the basis of, for example, there being other buyers lined up.
The ease of conducting online scams and fraud has made the Internet an appealing environment for criminals to operate in. Various fake sites and campaigns are often manufactured from abroad, which also makes it difficult to solve such cases.
Huijausinfo.fi – a resource for consumers on online scams
The ‘Watch out for online scams’ campaign will commence on Thursday, 15 March, which is also the World Consumer Rights Day. The campaign will encourage consumers to be vigilant when using the Internet, as anyone can fall victim to an online scam. It is important to maintain and develop your consumer skills in order to identify and avoid scams.
The campaign will offer consumers information on scams and tips for avoiding getting scammed. It will also encourage consumers to contact the authorities if they get scammed. As part of their communications campaign, the Consumers’ Union Finland has launched the Huijausinfo.fi website, where together with its partners, the union will compile information on scams targeting consumers. The website offers content such as links to the most up-to-date information provided by the authorities. Current topics are also communicated via the Twitter account @Huijausinfo.
The ‘Watch out for online scams’ communications campaign will be visible on social media in the coming weeks. On Facebook and Twitter, the hashtags #varohuijareitaverkossa and #huijausinfo are used.
The communications campaign is implemented collaboratively by the Finnish Commerce Federation, Consumers’ Union Finland, Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, Police, Customs, Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority and the European Consumer Centre Finland.
Juha Beurling, Head Secretary, Consumers’ Union Finland, +358 (0)40 5566 421, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mikko Koskinen, Chair for the Finnish Commerce Federation, Head of the Risk Management Unit at SOK, +358 (0)50 388 3098, email@example.com
Jyrki Aho, Police Inspector, Police Administration, +358 (0)295 480181
Juha Tretjakov, Information Security Specialist, FICORA, +358 (0) 295 390 432, juha.tretjakov(at)ficora.fi
Kristiina Vainio, lawyer at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, +358 (0)50 395 5698, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leena Lindström, Head Inspector, Director of the European Consumer Centre Finland, +358 (0)40 588 3260, email@example.com
Facebook page for the campaign: Facebook.com/huijausinfo
The Finnish Commerce Federation represents commerce — the largest sector of economic life. Commerce employs around 300,000 persons in Finland. The Federation has around 7,000 member companies, and it represents both retail and wholesale commerce in industry politics and labour market lobbying.
The Consumers’ Union Finland is an independent organisation of citizens that is open to all. The union promotes issues related to consumer rights, consumer finances, food product supply and nutrition as well as ethical consumption. The union gives consumers a voice in the market economy as well as in social decision-making. We represent consumers where decisions are made, and we encourage conversation and awareness within society.
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) secures and promotes well-functioning markets. Well-functioning markets are to the advantage of both companies and consumers. Markets function well when there is competition between businesses and consumer rights are protected. The Competition Division removes barriers to competition, ensuring that consumers are offered competitive alternatives. Consumer protection enhances consumer trust in the market operators: that their actions are in accordance with agreed rules, and that any disturbances are addressed rapidly.
The Police is tasked with securing citizens’ rights and societal order, upholding general law, order and safety, preventing and solving crime as well as driving for the consideration of charges.
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) endorses the safety and reliability of products, services and industrial activities. Our goal is a trustworthy, safe and competitive Finland.
The Customs promotes commerce and ensures the goods’ authenticity, efficiently levies excise taxes, offers customer-oriented services and protects the society, environment and citizens.
The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) is responsible for steering and supervising communication networks and services together with other operators in the field. The aim is to ensure that new service providers can enter the market, there is a sufficient spectrum for new needs, and consumer rights are respected. FICORA provides government services related to information security for citizens, businesses and the public administration.
The European Consumer Centre Finland offers information and advice to consumers who shop cross border outside Finland but in the EU area, Norway or Iceland.