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the European Union
European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram June 2022

Insert of n. 45 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)

Europol Arrested 108 Fraudsters

Europol, Latvian and Lithuanian police managed to unmask more than one hundred fraudsters who pretended to be online trading advisors, but had actually set up a fraudulent call centre. In the last week of March, hundreds of officers, including some special teams, raided three call centres, all belonging to the same criminal group, whose members, 108 of whom were arrested, are accused of scamming victims all over the world. They would call victims on the phone to convince them to invest in cryptocurrencies, foreign currencies and various financial instruments, promising to make their savings pay off. However, the investments were actually fake: in doing so, the arrested suspects earned more than 3 million Euros per month. Click here for more information on online trading.


How to Act to Avoid Them

They target people of all ages, regardless of background, cultural level and income. There is no group of people immune to scams. Recently, some consumers were defrauded by an appearent sports betting broker, who lured them with social media advertisements, guaranteeing the use of a secure system for winning bets: having paid out sums of over 20,000 Euros, the consumers would never see them again. Others were lured by email communications or pop-up windows apparently from multinational companies advertising the possibility of buying and selling shares or financial products linked to the performance of the shares of these companies. Through the alleged broker, sums of money even exceeding 15,000 Euro were transferred. Immediately afterwards, the fake consultant disappeared. Finally, the promotion of apps intended to guarantee the security of one's own computer... And which instead installed a programme that allowed remote control of the screen and thus access to passwords and credit card pins. To avoid scams, read our advices here.


Cooperation Between European Guarantors Has Been Increasing

In view of the implementation of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the competent authorities of the European Economic Area (EEA) have decided to strengthen cooperation on certain strategic cases. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has established some strategic lines, such as the joint identification on a regular basis of cross-border cases of strategic importance, on which cooperation will be prioritised with the support of the Board, and the creation of a European template for the submission of complaints, which can be used on a voluntary basis, and the enhancement of the IT tools available to the Board. For further information, click here.

In January 2020, an Italian consumer booked a stay in a Paris hotel for the Easter holidays. She could not have known that the trip would have been cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown. Nor could she have known that, instead of a refund, she would only receive a voucher from the hotel: like Italy, France - where she would be spending her holiday - introduced a regulation allowing the use of vouchers for cancellations of travel services due to Covid-19. Upon receiving the voucher, the consumer would have 18 months to use it, at the end of which she would be entitled to a cash refund. Due to the continuous uncertainties that the pandemic brought, the consumer never used the voucher and repeatedly asked the hotel for a refund at the end of 2021. But she never received an answer... The wise choice was to contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy. Thanks to the collaboration between ECC Italy and ECC France, to her great joy the consumer was able to get a full refund.