Stark Rise in Online Scams as Demark Leads EU in Scam Attempts

Denmark, a country that most Westerns consider one of the safest and socially responsible societies in the world (along with its Scandinavian sister-countries), has been a favorite target for online scammers over the past 5 years with an alarming increase of reported online scam attempts over the past 2 years. While this may surprise some of us, the fact is that Criminal organizations and ‘Lone-Wolf’ scammers seek havens in countries and regions where a large majority of the adult population shop online as opposed to real-world retail purchasing. The Danes, with a population of just under 6 Million, are one of the most frequent online buyers in the EU according to media reports and EU statistical surveys.

‘Ecommerce News Europe’ reported that in 2019,‘98% percent of Danes use the internet’ and in 2019 ’86 percent of all Danish internet users shopped online the year before’. 2019 also saw a sinister increase in online fraud attempts against elderly Danish (between the ages of 65 to 74), the most common being ‘false emails (phishing scam), in which targets are persuaded to hand over money after being engaged in a false email correspondence’ as reported by in 2019 by The Local, Denmark’s leading English online newspaper.

These frightening statistics were echoed by Benson Mandela, AML and Anti-Fraud Director of Scam Help a Dutch-owned major fraud recovery website that focuses on transnational online fraud scams run by criminal networks. ‘The most vulnerable consumer sector to online scams in the EU is elderly, and this is especially true in Denmark where internet usage is nearly universal regardless of age’. According to Mr. Benson ‘The COVID pandemic lockdown imposed earlier this week in Denmark. Due to the COVID, mink scare has severely increased the risk of online scams to the Danish elderly population. Our company recently received several reports from online fraud victims in Denmark. This trend is extremely concerning’.

A report issued by the EU in January of this year confirmed the surge of online scams in Denmark. The report, entitled ‘Survey on Scams and Frauds Experienced by Consumers’ was commissioned by the ‘Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers EU Consumer Program’. The statistical analysis of Danish online scamming experiences between 2018 and 2019, including failed and successful attempts, was shocking. The report examined three types of scams on an EU and respective EU Member country basis, respectively – Buying Scams, Identity Theft, and Monetary Fraud.

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Denmark led the EU as the number one country with 79% of Dane survey respondents reporting that they had experienced at least one ‘type of online fraud and scam’ attempt in 2019. Other categories were also sobering, with 46% of the Danish survey respondents stating that they had ‘experienced a monetary fraud attempt’ (1st EU ranking), 46% had experienced an ‘identity theft attempt’ (3rd EU ranking), and 25% claimed that they had experienced a ‘buying scam attempt’ (4th EU ranking)

In another twist of fate, the Danish Embassy in Beirut Lebanon issued an alert and warning on its website to local Lebanese and foreign residents to beware of online scammers who were posing as Danish companies and government agencies in order to extort money from their victims. The by-line of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website reads ‘Warning on possible fraud tricks and scams by FAKE Danish companies’ and advised that ‘The embassy would like to warn against inquiries from criminals who impose themselves as being from Danish companies. If you receive an unexpected email, a telephone call or letter from someone who claims to be from a Danish company, it may be a scam.’

‘Danish companies are especially popular to use as front companies for international scamming operations’ according to Scam Help AML and Anti-Fraud Director, Benson Mandela. He further commented that ‘Denmark is considered one of the most transparent countries in the world to do business in and as such has a strong ‘country brand’ that can easily be used by IT criminals to dupe innocent victims in fraudulent acts’.

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