If you receive a reminder for orders that you have never made, then it is very likely that you have fallen victim to cybercriminals.
Internet shopping is a practice for many people, especially in the run-up to Christmas and in the face of tougher measures for the coronavirus in retail. But e-commerce also makes life easier for scammers. Suddenly, unsuspecting people receive reminders of things they did not order, or never received. In Berlin alone, the damage in 2020 was, according to police, around 11.9 million euros!
A citizen from the Neukeln area fell victim to a parcel fraud.
“The damage was many thousands of euros”,
says. Scammers ordered expensive sneakers, watches and perfumes in his name.
“Some people took my name from a neighbor, or from a DHL branch.”
This man is, by no means, an isolated case. Berlin police recorded about 17,000 cases in 2011, while in 2020 about 22,500 were recorded. One reason is the boom in e-commerce. Perpetrators often only need one postal address and one “e-mail” address.
Difficult to find
Christian Burnight, Chief Criminal Investigator at the Office of Forensic Science, knows the process of fraudsters: Some cover up a mailbox with a fictitious name, or give the names of neighbors. Some of the perpetrators know when the delivery services are coming, lurking nearby, checking the mailboxes for notifications, or telling the neighbors that there was confusion. In some cases, delivery staff are involved and may have worked with the perpetrators.
According to the police, this fraud is mainly a phenomenon in the big cities, due to the anonymity of its inhabitants. The untouched delivery, due to coronavirus, makes it even easier. At the same time, the cases are difficult to investigate, because the perpetrators leave no trace on the internet.
“Mail addresses and phone numbers are incorrect”,
The percentage of clarifications has decreased in the last ten years from 59% to about 20%.
Many younger perpetrators are looking for expensive branded clothes to wear themselves, or for resale. Scammers often order multiple packages at multiple addresses.
“As a victim, you have no way to protect your personal data in the event of fraudulent orders.”
Politicians need to take action
“Politicians need to address the issue and companies need to make the process safer. But it has not been done yet.”
completes. Victims of internet theft can turn to consumer associations, which can go to court.
Mail companies and e-banks stress that they will pay more attention to security issues in the future. An Amazon spokesman said that they have taken all necessary measures to prevent the use of a stolen account. Customers who are victims of fraud are protected, the company says.
The man from Neukeln emphasizes, however, that:
“It is important, in any case, to make a complaint.”
In his case, all the online sellers were cooperative.
“Still, it was very annoying, especially when there was a real burglary attempt to get things.”
According to the police, however, despite any successes, the perpetrators remain free, or, when they are arrested, small fines, or suspended sentences are imposed.
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