Unfortunately, online fraud has become more common and has harmed people regardless of age or other characteristics. Criminals engage in phishing scams to ask for people's online banking user IDs and payment cards' security data by SMS, email and phone.

Another type of fraud is attempting to get the victim to make payments to the criminals' own accounts. Examples of such fraud include romance and inheritance scams.

Online scammers pressure victims or claim the matter is urgent

Banks will never send you messages that ask you to manage financial affairs through a link, so any such messages are attempted scams.

Also, if the message tells you to hurry or otherwise tries to pressure or scare you, it is very likely that it has been sent with criminal intent. No banking affair is so urgent that you cannot stop to carefully think about the matter and ask for advice if necessary.

The same applies to phone conversations. You should never disclose your banking user ID, no matter what a person on the phone might claim. And if someone wants to send money to your account, they do not need your banking user ID for it.

"You can provide your bank account number when it is necessary, but for example, if you're dealing with an online flea market and a buyer sends you a link where you would need to confirm receipt of a payment, it is a scam," says Marjo Myllyaho, Anti-financial Crime Specialist at OP.

The bank prevents most attempted scams

OP detects and prevents most attempted online scams.

If the bank notices that a criminal is trying to gain access to a customer's funds, it will cancel the card or deactivate the user ID. The customer is informed of the cancellation or deactivation by SMS, which does not contain links.

"The customer may also be called if their user ID has been deactivated for security reasons. The bank may provide the customer with advice on further action over the phone, but they will never request the user's bank ID or ask them to make a payment," says Myllyaho.

Sometimes, the bank may send the customer a confirmation request for a payment by SMS.

"Always read the content of the confirmation request carefully. If you're not about to do what the confirmation request asks you to confirm, don't confirm it," says Inkeri Jalonen, Product Manager in charge of digital identification at OP.

She also recommends setting usage limits for all accounts.

The bank prevents crimes in cooperation with the authorities

Most scam websites started by criminals are shut down thanks to the close cooperation between the bank and the authorities.

Additionally, OP seeks to identify criminal transactions in its payment transfers, but it cannot verify who the recipients of such payments are. Moreover, the bank cannot refuse to make payments approved by customers or slow down payment transfers.

"Most transactions made by criminals are successfully stopped, but a small number of scams always succeed regardless. That's why customers also need to be vigilant," says Jalonen.

How to prevent online scams

Never disclose your banking user ID to anyone – even the bank will never ask you for your ID.

Never click links in SMS messages signed by the bank – the bank will never send you links that ask you to identify yourself.

Read confirmation messages carefully: make sure you are doing what the confirmation request describes.

If you fall victim to an online scam, immediately contact the bank, deactivate your user ID and cancel your cards.

Read more at op.fi Secure online transactions