Top tricks being used by fraudsters in 2020

According to Danske Bank’s anti-fraud team, two methods of digital fraud in particular will come to dominate the first years of the new decade. The first such method is called social engineering. The second method involves duping unsuspecting individuals into laundering money. As a bank, we are working hard to protect consumers and to help consumers protect themselves.

As we look back on a decade marked by an ever-growing number of digital threats and methods of fraud – both large and small – there is little to suggest that digital fraud is on the decrease. Despite the fact that society’s and Danske Bank’s defences and security systems are becoming stronger and consumers are becoming better at protecting themselves, the ingenuity of fraudsters continues to grow.  

Psychological manipulation
According to Ketil Clorius, head of Danske Bank’s Fraud Management unit, 2020 will be a year where people need to be particularly aware of social engineering. Social engineering is a technique whereby fraudsters use phishing, social interactions and psychological trickery to convince a person or a business to hand over information, which can then, for example, provide the fraudsters with access to data networks or bank accounts.


Using very simple methods, fraudsters have become better at getting the victims themselves to transfer money to criminals. One such example is when a fraudster telephones a potential victim and convincingly pretends to be calling from an investment company offering a bullet-proof method of investing and making money. 

Ketil Clorius


He continues:   

“One of the warning signs to be aware of is someone contacting you with an unsolicited offer over the phone, on Facebook or by email. In these situations, you must always remember to ask yourself the question: ‘Does this offer seem too good to be true?’ Be critical and think very carefully. Do not say yes immediately – ask for some time to think about it so that you can have time to talk it over with a partner or a colleague.”




Young people recruited as money mules by criminals 

Another technique that Ketil Clorius advises people to be aware of is the method whereby criminals try to recruit children and young people to act as money mules. This method involves the fraudsters trying to launder money through the personal bank accounts of innocent and unsuspecting individuals.

“The victim might be stopped on the street by a fraudster who claims to have lost his or her bank card and then asks the victim to withdraw an amount of money – sometimes offering to pay the victim a fee for doing so. What may seem like an innocent good deed turns out to be a criminal act. Since 2018, the number of such cases has increased, and often it’s young people – sometimes as young as 12 years old – who are being used as money mules,” says Ketil Clorius.

He urges parents in particular to take action and talk to their children. The key messages should be that you should never share your bank details with other people and that you should always be wary if you are stopped by a person who offers you easy money and a big profit.  



What we do to protect customers

In our Sustainability Report 2019 that is published in the beginning of February you can read more on our efforts to protect customers. Here are three selected initiatives from 2019.
Competent employees

More than 100 competent employees worked to fight against fraud in 2019
Screening of payments

Every month, more than 38 million payments were screened to detect those that stood out
Replacing cards proactively

500 cards were proactively replaced on average every month due to data breaches