Remote work, meetings via Zoom, online learning and the cell phone turned into a bank branch and digital wallet. During the pandemic, electronic devices were key to maintaining some kind of normality. However, for many the intensive use of these devices became a trap and they fell victim to hackers with years of experience and improvised thieves who sought to seize the moment.
The virtual scamsdata theft and extortion in its various forms multiplied in our country and older adults are the main victims.
This is how the statistics of a study carried out by the National Observatory of Criminal Policy of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights expose it: of 2,917 complaints registered in 2018, digital crimes climbed to 14,671 last year. That is, the 2021 figure was five times higher.
“The trend has a clear upward direction, not only with regard to the number of cases, but also to the emergence of new criminal modalities,” explained Arturo Huaytalla, coordinator of said unit that produced the report.
Huaytalla says that Lima registered the highest number of complaints for computer crimes -7,324 cases- during the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. However, the growth of cases at the national level since the pandemic began went from 25% to 65%.
The computer fraud It is the modality that grew the most from one year to the next, according to the report. From 6,946 complaints in 2020, 10,924 were reached last year. Three out of four cybercrimes in Peru are related to this modality. Likewise, in second place is identity theft, which went from 935 complaints to 2,666 in the same period.
The methodologies used by the virtual fraudsters were categorized as “bank phishing”, “credit card phishing”, “purchases on non-validated portals”, “purchases through social networks” and “purchases/validations of telephone data”. But those posing as banks were perhaps the most common.
Lennon Centeno Benites attests to this. “I received a call to my cell phone supposedly from a BCP official. He told me all the banking movements that he had made and also told me about a Yape transaction that I made”.
He then added: “They told me that they had duplicated it by mistake and to return the money they asked me for information on my digital token in order to cancel that duplicate transaction.” This method escalated to a point where it forced some banks to suspend their service channels through social networks.
“There is progress in multiple criminal forms that affect the integrity and security of thousands of citizens who use new technologies for educational, work, commercial or entertainment purposes,” warns Arturo Huaytalla.
And it recommends protecting personal data by regularly updating the operating system and installed software of all the devices you use to connect to the Internet. Also install a firewall in order to restrict unauthorized internet access.
Tips. Do not trust emails in which banking entities or sales sites request passwords. Avoid sharing personal information.