An upset woman

Safe trading with Firi - Together we detect fraud

It should be safe to trade with Firi. A few months ago, Firi's anti-money laundering department discovered some suspicious deposits from a woman in her 70s and her husband. Furthermore, they seemed to be buying bitcoin for large sums of money.

It turned out that the couple was exposed to a frightening and complex attempt at fraud, but fortunately Firi managed to save their money.

Read more about how Firi works with anti-money laundering and security here.

Scary experience

Now the couple, who wish to remain anonymous, want to share their story to warn others against falling into the same trap as they did.

“It was an incredibly scary experience. We can hardly sleep at night,” said "Anne".

Anne’s phone rang on a ordinary Thursday morning. It's was an unknown number, and for some reason she decided to answer on this particular occasion, although she rarely answers when unknown numbers call. A man named Kristian called, and he informed her about a loan of NOK 150,000 that Anne is supposed to have taken.

“This was not true at all. I hadn’t heard anything in the slightest about a loan,” explained Anne.

Requested the login information

The scammer continued saying that she had most likely been the victim of an identity theft, but that he and his colleagues would do everything in their power to solve the problem. The case had to be reported to the police, and the couple could trust him fully.

“He had my name and address, social security number and account number. The customer service representative seemed very professional and knowledgeable, and was supportive with regard to the alleged identity theft. It really seemed like he wanted to help us. To solve the case, he had to be given access to my bank accounts, so I gave him my login information,” the woman said.

The swindler got access to the couple’s savings accounts, and that is when the threats began.

He emptied all the accounts and threatened the couple to keep silent.

“He emphasized strongly that the case was confidential, and that we couldn’t mention it to anyone. Our mobiles had to be switched off over the weekend. He explained that the police would come to our house on Monday, and that if we did not comply with the rules of confidentiality, well… I mean, he almost threatened to kill us,” said a clearly upset Anne.

She further explained that it was vital for her to be able to use the phone, as he husband "Atle" is often ill. She was finally allowed to do this after a lot of back and forth. Anne started to panic, and eventually hung up the phone. The scammer did not give up, however, and called back several times. The couple was harassed until the early evening, and they were constantly reminded that they could not talk to a soul about this.

“I realized that we had been defrauded. My husband drove to the ATM, and he was informed that he couldn’t withdraw a single penny. Even though we’d been told not to mention it to anyone, I talked to my daughter, who called the police for us,” says Anne.

Firi discovered the attempted fraud

The day after the scammer emptied the retired couple's accounts, Firi discovered several suspicious deposits made to Anne and Atle's newly created accounts. Purchases were, furthermore, made in bitcoin, and attempts were made to send the funds to another crypto-wallet. Firi stopped the transfer, and an employee called the couple to tell them that he suspected that they had been attempted defrauded.

“Fortunately, my daughter picked up the phone when your colleague from Firi called us to explain that everything was under control and that all the money had been saved. I mean, all our bank accounts were empty. Losing all our money would have led to financial and mental anguish for us for years years to come,” the couple said.

The police arrived at the couple's home, and Firi then helped the couple exchange bitcoin back into Norwegian kroner and transferred the stolen amount to the original bank accounts.

“We are eternally grateful to you for the work you did to get all our money back,” Anne and Atle said.

Considerable resources spent to detect attempted fraud

Øyvind Kvanes, founder of Firi, said that it was very important for them to stop all forms of fraud that are attempted at the Norwegian exchange service for cryptocurrency.

“We spend a lot of resources on developing and improving our systems to detect attempted fraud. We’re also lucky to have competent members of staff with several years of experience in this area. They know exactly what to look for in such cases,” he said.

Phone fraud is not a new phenomenon, but criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated. Firi's security team's best tips to avoid being scammed in this way is to never provide personal passwords, codes or BankID information.

“This applies regardless of who asks. Remember that your bank or Firi will never ask for such information. If you get such a request, it is probably a scam attempt. Furthermore, it is important to notify your bank or cryptocurrency exchange about the attempt,” the security team points out.

Check out our tips on password security and how to avoid cybercrime here.

Do you suspect that you have been scammed or exposed to cybercrime? Contact us at [email protected] and your bank as soon as possible.