E-fraud soars 790% in 3 years

Police report that cybercriminals are constantly discovering new forms of online deception

E-fraud soars 790% in 3 years

Electronic fraud is on the rise in Greece, due not only to the high penetration of the internet and smartphones, but also to the fact that cybercriminals are constantly discovering new ways of deception.

The figures provided by the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection in response to a parliamentary question, concerning the period 2019-2022, reveal the rapid rise of cybercrime. Considering that these are only the cases of computer fraud under Article 386A of the Criminal Code that are reported to the authorities – often small amounts of money in defrauding are not reported to the police – then the real size of electronic crime is likely much higher.

Last year, compared to 2019, instances of electronic fraud increased by 790%; comparison with 2021 comes to 52%. The victims of cybercriminals are increasing geometrically: In 2019, police had recorded 619 victims, which doubled in 2020, with the rate of increase leaping in 2021-2022. Last year, there were 5,914 victims, a number that is 53% higher than in 2021.

How many of these cases are solved? Last year, approximately 10 times more fraud cases were detected than in 2019 – i.e. 856 cases compared to 90 four years ago.

The offense, which corresponds to section 386A of the Criminal Code, involves sending falsified digital data, misleading e-mails or viruses that lead to loss of property. This category of crime includes fraudulently obtaining bank card details, sending emails that refer to standard bank messages (phishing), inserting misleading hyperlinks into popular websites, as well as embedding malware code into a website.

An equally widespread form of fraud is the sending of e-mails to tax-paying citizens supposedly from the Independent Authority for Public Revenue. However, this method of deception is not included in the data of the police.

As reported by the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection, the perpetrators of online fraud have the ability to conceal, with the use of appropriate tools, their real location and identity, while in a large number of cases they are outside Greek territory.

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