Head of Digital Security: Banks should help ashamed victims of fraud
A job that truly makes sense and lives up to the nice words about social responsibility? Sune Gabelgaard, Head of Digital Security, has a good suggestion: Help the victims of digital fraud. More than every second Dane falls victim to attempted digital fraud
“How could I be so stupid?”
The shame felt by many victims of online fraud is profound, and many would rather not tell their family and friends about the incident or report it to the police.
But the victims are often forced to be in contact with their bank, and that is a unique opportunity for the banks to live up to the nice words about social responsibility in the sector, so finds Sune Gabelgaard, Head of Financial Crime Prevention at MobilePay:
“There is huge potential for the banks to offer to help the victims of digital fraud. This is a large area with many ramifications and in need of action, but the banks are afraid of giving it too much attention, fearing that it will scare customers from using their digital solutions even though, in my opinion, this is entirely wrong.
Help the victims and take preventive action
“Although the banks will not always cover the loss suffered by someone, a bank can assume the responsibility of helping the victims move on as best as possible – and, preferably, prevent incidents from happening. This is an incredibly meaningful job because it is about people who have been hit hard and often blame themselves tremendously.”
Sune Gabelgaard, previously a police officer and Head of Digital Security at Danske Bank and Nets, has spoken with many victims.
“Whether they have suffered a manageable or detrimentally large financial loss, they are severely marked by the experience. I even had one who threatened to kill herself when I spoke with her.”
It can happen to anyone
More than every second Dane has been exposed to some sort of scam attempt, according to an analysis from the Danish Regions, Local Government Denmark and the Agency for Digitisation that was published last month. Only one per cent fell into the trap of disclosing personal data to the scammers.
But it can happen to anyone, assesses Sune Gabelgaard:
“It isn’t a question of whether, but when, it will happen to you. It could happen to me too because the scammers strike in areas where feelings are at play. They may speak to your need for love on a dating site, or your need for doing something nice for the grandchildren by way of a quick investment. When your need is hit spot on, the risk of falling into the trap is big.”
Customers are telling off banks
In reference to this, the banks last year registered a total of 1,099 cases of fraud related to love. According to Finans Danmark, criminals got their hands on nearly DKK 22 million, while the banks intervened and prevented a further DKK 26.5 million from being transferred to criminals.
“Sometimes bank officers will be told off by customers for trying to prevent a transfer. Of course, this may feel totally unreasonable when all you are trying to do is help, but the thing is never to take it personally,” he continues.
Cunning scammers may, for example, in connection with crypto-currency fraud build up trust with their victims, making them inclined to believe what the scammers tell them, not what the bank tells them.
“The scammers might already have told the victims: ‘Your bank will probably contact you to try and stop the transfer. But that is only because the bank is not interested in you investing in anything other than the bank’s products’.”
A countermove to the ‘fee vultures’
The bank officer therefore has a steep hill to climb trying to explain to the customer what is really at stake. But it is worth the effort to rise to the challenge, says Sune Gabelgaard:
“The banks have faced numerous shitstorms, literally been called fee vultures and much more. Here is an area that really needs to be prioritised and exposed. If the stories are left untold, the problem does not register with the customers, and it makes life easier for the criminals.”
If, on the other hand, the stories are told, and the shame begins to dissolve because others experience it too, more cases will be reported to the police. As a result, additional resources will be allocated to combat fraud, states Sune Gabelgaard.
“Today, there are considerable dark figures as a result of fraud not being registered,” he says. More Danish scammers have also entered the scene, and when they approach people in Danish, their game becomes easier.
“Still, most of the fraud we see is in English. But the corona pandemic made many criminals who usually made a living from cheating and tricking people on the streets turn to the online scene instead”.
More than half fall victim to attempted fraud
More than every second Dane has been exposed to some sort of scam attempt, according to a recent analysis published by the Danish Regions, Local Government Denmark and the Agency for Digitisation.