The Limassol office for the investigation of financial crime is looking into more than 30 cases involving internet fraud that emerged this year, the director of the office Ioannis Soteriades said on Wednesday.
After a report was filed with Limassol police on Tuesday by a 63-year-old businessman who claimed he had fallen victim to internet fraud, losing €33,000, Soteriades called on the public to be particularly careful when making online transactions.
So far this year, the sum lost by members of the public to internet fraudsters has topped half a million euros, Soteriades said.
In the latest incident, the 63-year-old man told police that in early August he made an order via email for a machine costing €110,000 from an Italian company which he had done business with for years.
The man was then notified that he should not transfer the money to the bank account he usually used to send payment to the Italian company. Instead, he was called to send the money to a Spanish account.
The 63-year-old duly transferred a deposit of €33,000 to the specified account but was then informed by the Italian company that no order or money was ever received, and that the company does not have a Spanish bank account.
Soteriades said that the financial crime office will be requesting the input of Europol and Interpol in order to examine to whom the Spanish account belongs.