Switzerland has lodged in April a high number of cybercriminals who were taking advantage of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) situation.
A report by The Middle East North Africa Financial Network Inc. (MENAFN)–citing data by Swiss website The Institute for Combating Economic Crime (ILCE)’s coronafraud.ch–said that the website recorded as much as 200 online scam cases relating to overpriced or bogus products since it was first launched on March 26.
“Most of the crimes that we have identified are carried out on the internet, so emails, websites, fake shops or posters for masks, emails offering masks that are fake,” criminologist Olivier Beaudet-Labrecque said. “In fact, you order the mask and never receive it. What we see the most are things that have a link to the internet and concern hygiene goods, such as masks, gels, gloves etc.”
As of April 23, some 163 out of 245 reports made on the website were related to hygiene goods that were either non-compliant or sold at a higher price, while 21 reports were related to businesses and shops which were non-abiding by the guidelines of the authorities.
An example of an act of fraud includes the sale of masks for as much as $308 apiece, while those who volunteer to do the groceries for the elderlies take their money and never deliver the goods. While elderlies were not necessarily victims of cybercrimes due to their underuse of the internet, ILCE said the bulk of the victims belong to ages 31 to 50.
“There is no specific victim profile,” said Beaudet-Labrecque. “It affects all ages and both sexes … because you are more vulnerable, you are quicker to trust people offering help.”
ILCE said the remainder was related to irrelevant reports or those related to phishing efforts offering miracle medications and online testing for coronavirus.
Data collected by the group was solely used for research and not to be passed on to Swiss authorities.
PHOTO COURTESY: FLICKR