Cases of Online Identity Theft and their social & economic impact

Cases of Online Identity Theft are also a concern for the Greece government. Learn how the action of Online Identity Theft criminal groups can have an impact at the socal and economic level. Click to learn more.

(Material written by: KEMEA Centre for Security Studies)

In the last few years, we are witnessing an explosion of Online Identity Theft cases in Europe. In Greece specifically, there are frequently reported and published cases of serious online identity theft by the Greek Police and its Cybercrime unit.

Thousands of euros are being stolen from unsuspected victims by malignant actors using software, hardware and advanced online techniques to obtain and steal personal details, private information, personal or business bank accounts’ details from citizens.

What the criminal groups of Online Identity Theft do:

– Computer and online fraud

– Illegal acquisition of intangible means of payment

– Acceptance and disposal of illegally acquired intangible means of payment

In many reported cases, from the digital investigation of police, the criminal groups, acting either jointly or individually, commit cases of computer fraud, with significant illegal economic benefit amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros.

Their usual pattern is that they present themselves either as accountants, offering public services or as interested buyers for advertisements, or classified ads, they also promise to assist an individual or company for paying their debt, provide a fake subsidy, or make an advance payment for a product purchase.

They then gain access to the victim’s bank account. The victim is firstly tricked into entering their login credentials, by manipulation methods or through phishing links, sent to them through mail or sms and leading to fraudulent bank websites that victims of online identity theft believe they are real and authentic.

In other cases, criminals clone official websites (example: postal services) making victims believe the offered websites are real. The latter, again provide their personal details and bank accounts information.

In one of the reported cases of Online Identity Theft, a Greek citizen received a message in their email account, stating that in order to complete the shipment of a product, they needed to complete the order by paying X amount of money in a cloned website that looked like the official website of the postal services.

The victims entered their bank details, only to notice illegal unsolicited transactions with their personal bank card and account, abroad.

The impact of these criminal actions are tremendous both financially for their victims and also psychologically. The trust of citizens in established social norms and the trust in established institutions is heavily affected from this phenomenon. 

Previous research has shown that criminals call citizens pretending to be representing financial organizations or offering investment advises or investment suggestions of money and capital into financial products, stocks, cryptos (cryptocurrencies), with the effect of over 200 millions of euros in damages and financial loss for victims.

The victims, in many cases,  do not report the cases to the law enforcement authorities. This is because, very often, they consent to the installation of remote access software on their computer in order to facilitate their registration on the investment platform.

With EITHOS EU Project, we will develop tools for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to enhance the capacity and ability of Police Organizations across EU, to detect and monitor online identity theft cases to protect citizens and business owners from online frauds.


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