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'More Danes than ever' victims of digital crime

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
'More Danes than ever' victims of digital crime
Illustration photo. Record numbers in Denmark are victims of IT-related crime. Photo; Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Almost 190,000 people in Denmark were the victims of IT-related crime in 2023, according to new figures.

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The number, released by the Danish Crime Prevention Council (Det Kriminalpræventive Råd) represents a significant increase on the previous year’s figure of 150,000.

Denmark’s justice ministry, national police and the University of Copenhagen all work with the Crime Prevention Council in an annual study which tracks the figure through contact with victims.

It represents a trend which is unlikely to slow down in coming years, according to the Council’s director Erik Christensen.

“Technological advances mean that there are more and more doors through which the criminals can walk in relation to scamming us normal members of the public,” he told newswire Ritzau.

The emergence of AI could make it even more likely that people become subjected to digital fraud attempts, he said.

The study found that online payments and abuse of payment information were most common types of fraud defined as IT-related.

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But “contact fraud”, in which scammers contact targets by email, telephone or online, is also on the rise.

The figure for that specific type of crime went from 13,000 in 2022 to 47,000 last year.

READ ALSO: Danish courts issue warning over SMS scam

“Our best advice is that if each of us takes good time when we get an email or SMS… and check whether it is [actually] from the Tax Agency, municipality or bank,” Christensen said.

He also advised asking a family member or trusted person for a second opinion before answering any email or SMS, if in doubt.

In the most common type of IT crime – online transactions – some 85,000 people in Denmark last year lost money to scams such as fake web shops or trades with private individuals.

Another form – which hit 64,000 people – involves purchase of a fake or counterfeit item.

Some 76,000 people were victims of having their bank card details stolen and misused, some 19,000 more than in 2022.

“We must move away from shaming people who get scammed because anyone can fall victim to it. Even when you look at these numbers, we know there are also unreported cases,” Christensen said.

The Council director stressed the importance of victims of online fraud not feeling shame over what had happened.

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