Czech Republic Faces Surge in Holiday Scams: Fraudulent Texts, Unsolicited COD, and Fake Banker Calls on the Rise

As the holiday season approaches, residents in the Czech Republic find themselves increasingly targeted by a wave of tricks and scams orchestrated by fraudsters. The autumn season is witnessing a surge in deceptive tactics, including fraudulent text messages purportedly from transport companies, unsolicited cash-on-delivery packages, false advertisements for goods, and fake calls from individuals posing as bankers. With cyberattacks on the rise, law enforcement authorities urge citizens to report even minor instances of fraud to aid in capturing the culprits.

Last year marked a concerning increase of nearly 95 percent in cybercrime, and a similar upward trend is anticipated this year. The Czech Banking Association has issued a warning, revealing that more than half of the population has already encountered some form of fraud by e-scammers in 2023. Monika Zahálková, the association’s director, disclosed that scammers have successfully siphoned off one billion crowns from victims’ accounts this year, with the average damage per client amounting to 20,786 crowns.

The upcoming holiday season is expected to play a significant role in these statistics, as scammers intensify their activities during peak shopping periods. The onset of summer and Christmas holidays poses a higher risk as individuals shop for gifts, providing scammers with increased opportunities. “Perpetrators have learned very well to respond to the given season, which was not the case before,” affirmed Jakub Vinčálek, a spokesman for the police presidency.

A prevalent tactic, according to the police, involves text messages from fraudulent transport companies providing false information about parcels. These messages often request payment for packaging or transportation, containing links that lead recipients to install malicious software or divulge sensitive information in online banking portals. Fraudsters have become adept at using precise Czech language and graphics resembling official offices and institutions, with messages sometimes mimicking announcements from the Czech Post.

Law enforcement emphasizes the importance of reporting fraud consistently, even for small amounts. Reporting allows the police to scrutinize their systems and identify potential patterns of more extensive criminal activity. While individuals may not recover their losses, reporting facilitates the consolidation of cases, transforming isolated offenses into criminal investigations. As the holiday season progresses, authorities aim to curb the rising tide of scams, urging vigilance and prompt reporting from the public.

Article by Prague Forum

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