Crime, Estonia, Financial Services, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 16.09.2019, 09:44

Benin-based cheats defrauding Estonians of money with offers of unsecured loan

BC, Tallinn, 19.01.2017.Print version
Six people who have lost money to cheats offering big unsecured loans via social media websites and by e-mail have turned to the Estonian police this year, informs LETA/BNS.

The cheats based in the West African country of Benin publish ads offering loans as big as several hundred thousand euros without collateral.

"The cheats are well prepared and, in order to win trust, will send the person who has contacted them copies of signed agreements and other documents, posing as a real company offering credit services," Hannes Kelt, head of the service for combating fraud and cyber crime at the North prefecture of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, said on Thursday.

When contact with the potential victim has been established, the victim will be told to pay the party posing as creditor various fees via Western Union, such as an arrangement fee, insurance, and postage, before the agreed amount can be released to the borrower. As can be expected, this never happens.

Kelt said that everyone considering using the offer should consult their friends or experts and ask themselves if an offer like this isn't way too good to be true.

The amounts of money that residents of Estonia have paid to the fraudsters range from 400 to 8,000 euros and the victims are aged 24–35.

Kelt said the cheats also ask their victims to provide a scan of their ID or another document. The scans are than used to win the trust of the next victims.

The police officer added that fraud schemes like this hit individual countries in waves, and the more people know about the methods used by the cheats, the more difficult it is for them to defraud more people in that country and they will set their sights on a different country soon.

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