You’re fined. Rosfinmonitoring told how scammers deceive Russians | Security | Society

You’re fined.  Rosfinmonitoring told how scammers deceive Russians |  Security |  Society

Hundreds of thousands of cybercrimes occur in Russia every year, with more than half of them related to financial fraud. The most common schemes and tricks were revealed in an interview with Doctor of Law, Head of the Legal Department of Rosfinmonitoring Olga Tisen.

Sergey Bolotov, — Olga Nikolaevna, how do you assess the situation with cyber fraudsters?

Olga Tisen: — According to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2023, over 670 thousand crimes committed using information computer technologies were registered in Russia. More than half of them involve financial fraud. These data speak for themselves. True, 21% more such crimes were solved than in 2022.

— What are the most common scam schemes you see?

— First of all, these are methods of social engineering, that is, sophisticated deception, abuse of trust and misrepresentation. As a result, the victim of such an attack hands over his money or account passwords to the criminals. If previously this was done by people in prison, in recent years fraudsters operate mainly through call centers located abroad.

Despite a lot of sad examples, financial pyramids remain common, including under the guise of investing. Identity theft continues as before.

In addition to the most common ones, scammers also come up with new schemes, taking advantage of people’s ignorance. Lately we have seen that criminals are acting under the guise of employees of government agencies, including Rosfinmonitoring.

– What does it usually look like?

— Fraudsters often, under the guise of a request from Rosfinmonitoring, send out demands for the need to make a payment or pay a commission for money transfers. Rosfinmonitoring does not collect payments from citizens. We don’t call people at all, we don’t send out letters, and we communicate with organizations, lawyers and everyone else who is entitled to it under 115-FZ exclusively through the “personal account” of Rosfinmonitoring.

People also receive calls or write messages about the “freezing” of their funds in their accounts under the pretext of applying anti-money laundering legislation. And then they demand that you transfer money to a “safe account” and pay commissions. Often, scammers are “charged” with financing terrorism or extremism, and also demand a “fine”.

Another common excuse for a “fine” is “bypassing anti-sanction measures.” Moreover, with the subsequent “withdrawal” of cash or non-cash money. If a person is approached with any such request, then these are scammers. Rosfinmonitoring does not do this. I repeat, we are not empowered to seize property or block accounts, and we do not charge any fees or payments.

Of course, criminals do not always pretend to be employees of government agencies. Their schemes can be built on any lie, even about an unexpected fine, even about a issued loan. And they themselves can impersonate anyone, even the victim’s relatives, and say that they are in trouble and urgently need help with money. In such cases, you need to call your family or the bank back and double-check the information.

— Why do people trust scammers so easily?

“Not everyone believes; most people do not succumb to the tricks of attackers. There is a number spoofing technology that allows you to show the subscriber the Rosfinmonitoring number. If the call comes through the messenger, then they put the icon of our department. When scammers send emails, they forge electronic documents. Even an electronic signature can be similar to that belonging to the management of the department.

Judging by the requests received by Rosfinmonitoring, scammers usually deceive pensioners and entrepreneurs, the self-employed, and any gullible people who are convinced with forged signatures and seals with the symbols of a government agency.

— What is the most sophisticated deception scheme you have ever seen?

— Cases have become widespread when a potential victim receives a whole series of calls, letters and fake documents. And at every stage they try to convince a person that he must give money away again and again.

In addition to the excuses that I have already mentioned, scammers tell people about “confiscation.” The explanation is that Rosfinmonitoring has suspicions about the legality of the origin of their money. Having “stunned” a person with this news, they are required to present documents about the source of income. Or pay a “commission fee” to save at least part of the funds. At the same time, scammers obtain personal data from the documents, which they also use for their own purposes.

In some cases, people are asked to seek advice from a “Rosfinmonitoring specialist,” during which victims are forced to transfer all the money to their account in order to save it from supposed confiscation.

— You mentioned financial pyramids. How does this happen?

“First, gullible citizens are lured with promises of big profits, and then the scammers hide behind Rosfinmonitoring to simply not return their money to people.

For example, a month ago we received a complaint about the theft of funds under the guise of providing investment services. After the victim began to demand her money back, she was informed that it was used to finance Ukrainian nationalist battalions. She was threatened with criminal liability for treason if she contacted the police.

In other cases, when victims began to demand their money back, the scammers informed them that Rosfinmonitoring had “blocked their accounts” and demanded that they pay a fee for unfreezing transactions.

— Is the success of scammers the other side of people’s carelessness?

— Financial security and financial literacy are interrelated, but not identical concepts. There are basic knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for decision making, they allow a person to manage risks and open the path to well-being. Unfortunately, there are threats along this path, so people have to protect their savings.

Simply put, financial literacy is about how to earn, save and grow your money. And security is about how to protect them from illegal attacks.

— Do people learn from their mistakes?

— Usually yes, but not always right away. It is often psychologically difficult for people to survive deception; under the weight of negative emotions they lose the ability to think soberly. And again they become victims of criminals when they call under the guise of “providing assistance in returning stolen funds.”

Thus, the applicant contacted Rosfinmonitoring and indicated that she had transferred several tens of thousands of rubles to an account for investing in shares. She soon realized that she had been deceived. Then an alleged employee of Rosfinmonitoring called her and said that her money was in a foreign brokerage account and he would help her return it. To do this, he recommended transferring thirty thousand rubles to the card as a “legalization tax.”

– How to put an end to all this?

— In recent years, the world has changed so much that those means and methods of ensuring financial security that were effective quite recently may turn out to be ineffective today. We need to develop and implement new tools that meet the demands of the times.

Moreover, even if such tools become perfect, people need to systematically improve their financial literacy. Otherwise, they will simply disarm themselves against scammers.

In October last year, the government approved the “Strategy for Improving Financial Literacy and Forming a Financial Culture until 2030.” Rosfinmonitoring is involved in its implementation. Together with our partners, we conduct lessons on financial security for schoolchildren across the country. There are also online lessons, their recording is available to everyone on the Internet. We hope people will pay attention to this topic.


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