As the holiday season approaches, people in the Czech Republic are increasingly encountering tricks and scams from fraudsters. The culprits of this autumn are fraudulent text messages from transport companies, unsolicited cash on delivery, false advertisements for the sale of goods, and calls from fake bankers. The number of cyberattacks is increasing, with the police recommending reporting even small-scale frauds to help capture the perpetrators.
Last year, cybercrime increased by nearly 95 percent, and a similar trend is expected this year. The Czech Banking Association warned that more than half of the people have already encountered a form of fraud by e-scammers this year. According to Monika Zahálková, the association’s director, scammers have already siphoned off a billion crowns from the victims’ accounts this year, with the average damage per client being 20,786 crowns.
The holiday season plays a significant role in these statistics. The beginning of the summer and Christmas holidays are high-risk periods as scammers’ activity significantly increases because people are shopping for gifts. “Perpetrators have learned very well to respond to the given season, which was not the case before,” confirmed Jakub Vinčálek, a spokesman for the police presidency.
According to the police, text messages from transport companies with false information about parcels are typical for pre-Christmas. For example, you have to pay some amount for packaging or transport. Such a message usually contains a link that prompts the recipient to install a computer program or enter data into online banking. Scammers have increasingly used precise Czech language and graphics of offices and institutions in recent years, and often, such a message appears as an announcement of the Czech Post.
The police recommend consistently reporting fraud, even a hundred-crown amount. “Based on the report, we go through our systems and can find out if it is not some more extensive criminal activity,” said a spokesman for the police presidency. Although defrauded people may not get their money back, thanks to the report, the police can merge more cases. “Then it is no longer an offense but a crime,” Vinčálek added.