Internet scams double in the provinces of Girona: 23 scams per day

Internet scams double in the provinces of Girona: 23 scams per day

Internet fraud in the Girona Police District has doubled in the past five years. Specifically, according to the Mossos d’Esquadra registry, the number of crimes of this type increased from 4,248 crimes in 2018 to a total of 8,479 crimes last year. An increase representing an average of 23 electronic fraud operations per day, which the police attribute to increased use of the Internet. Cybercriminals are typically seeking money, personal data, or control of a device and that they achieve this through calls or messages containing verified links or websites, explains Sarah Lopez, a Citizen Security, Proximity and Victim Assistance (ARSEC) agent. “To avoid falling into these traps, it is important to be decisive and not in a rush,” he warns.

Last year, an average of more than 23 online scams were consumed daily in the areas of Girona. That’s almost double what happened in 2019, when an average of 11.6 per day was recorded. Regional District Attorney for Citizen Security, Proximity and Victim Support of Girona, Sarah Lopez, confirms that cybercrime is increasing due to the amount of time residents spend on the Internet. “We are an increasingly digital society, and the more people use the internet, the more opportunities there are for scammers to scam someone.”

The Mossos warned that the classification of scams was “changing”, but they were “benefiting from the campaigns”. In this sense, Lopez explains that, for example, in summer travel offers are usually too good to be true or Christmas scams focus on deep discounts on gifts that seem to expire quickly. In order to prevent the population, the possessors share through official networks the working method they discover, so that everyone is aware of it. However, they warn that a common requirement to avoid being scammed online is to “be critical and not rush into doing anything”.

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In addition, they always recommend taking preventive measures. These include protecting devices with anti-virus software that is updated periodically, as well as not using public Wi-Fi for important procedures because it is easy for hackers or cybercriminals to steal this information. It is also a good option to consult the opinions of other users through forums or social networks, as well as to avoid saving cards in applications or websites so that money transfers can be done independently. You should also decline any type of offer – such as an award or a job – in advance and avoid providing more personal data than necessary.

Scam channels

The police have identified the scams It is usually delivered through three channels: By contacting through message – By phone or email – or via web pages with little security. In the first cases, the ARSEC agent explains that the interlocutor usually changes the victim to make her act quickly and not allow her to think, either by telling her that she has a problem that she can only solve now or by making you an exclusive offer that you can also take advantage of immediately. “There is nothing too urgent,” Lopez says, warning that it is necessary to hang up and do the necessary checks through the official channels of the company they say they are calling from, before making any decision.

Another channel through which many scams are committed is messaging via SMS, WhatsApp or email. Here, you can attach the link that is “It is necessary not to click” So as not to risk losing control of the account or giving out data without wanting to. “If we detect a suspicious message, we should block that contact and not interact with them,” Lopez says.

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Finally, many scams are also committed through unsecured web pages. In this sense, Lopez She recommends taking a look at each portal to see if they have good security mechanisms and can be trusted. First, it details that a web address must begin with “https” and be preceded by a padlock to ensure that “the information we enter is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by anyone.” In addition, at the end of the web page there should be a breakdown of the page’s privacy policy, as well as the return policy; Information that Mossos also recommends checking.

On the private site

Apart from individuals, online scams also affect small and medium-sized businesses. This is what happened to Edward Laguarda, director of Flores Laguarda in Santa Coloma de Varneres. In his case, they spoofed the account number that linked him to purchases customers made through his website. This way, whatever order he has, he will pick it up, prepare it, and the customer will pick it up after paying for it. But the problem was that the money was going to an account in Belgium.

LaGuarda explains It was the same client who alerted them via email, warning them that he was about to pay an account in Belgium. From that moment, Laguarda contacted the bank that facilitates online purchases and they stopped doing so to avoid another scam. “If they do not notify us, the fraud will continue, because the site continues the same way and everything looks normal. The customer enters the card number and pays normally, as on any other page. What happens is that in this case, the money went to an account that is not ours.” “, regrets the director.

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this It was a “significant” loss for the company because Internet sales made up a large portion of the total at the end of the year. Flores Laguarda activated the site after the quarantine and it was “successful”, but after the scam they decided to deactivate it again so as not to have problems again. In addition, they could not recover all the money they lost, because the bank was not responsible for it and they did not take out insurance, which “represents a significant cost” for a family business like Flores Laguarda.

Report fraud

In this sense, if you fall into a scam despite the protection measures, the Regional District Agent for Citizen Security, Proximity and Care of the Victim explains in detail the steps to take. If it is an economic fraud, where is the case of Flores Laguarda, “You must first contact the bank to try to recover the stolen amount and block the account number.”. In addition, “it is important to take screenshots and collect all the information to find the person who committed the crime.” Once this is done, “it is necessary to go to the police station to file a complaint.”

In the same way, if they seize personal data or control any device or account, it is necessary to report this to Mossos d’Esquadra and contact the Catalan Cybersecurity Agency.

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