How Fintechs in Lithuania are Battling Financial Fraud

How Fintechs in Lithuania are Battling Financial Fraud

Over the past few years, Lithuania has firmly established itself as a leading European hub for financial innovation and the growth of fintech companies. However, with any area of rapid innovation comes risks – one major being the potential for economic crimes like fraud to emerge.

Recognizing this threat early on, Lithuanian regulators and fintech companies have implemented layered preventative measures and comprehensive reporting standards to combat fraud. Their vigilance has paid off, creating one of the world’s most transparent and ethically operated fintech ecosystems.

What is Financial Fraud, and Why Does it Happen?

Financial fraud refers to intentional deception, misrepresentation, or other illegal acts characterized by deceit and abuse of trust. These acts aim to unlawfully obtain money, assets, or other property from financial institutions, businesses, or individuals. Tactics range from identity theft to credit card fraud to complex scams involving securities fraud or money laundering networks. No matter the approach, financial fraud erodes consumer trust in economic systems.

Common Types of Financial Fraud

Some of the most prevalent types of financial fraud include:

Identity Theft

  • Criminals steal personal information like names, birthdays, social security numbers, etc.
  • They use this info to open fraudulent accounts and make unauthorized purchases.

Credit/Debit Card Fraud

  • Perpetrators steal card information or make counterfeits
  • They use cards/card numbers to buy goods and services without paying

Hacking & Cybercrime

  • Hackers breach company systems to steal funds from accounts
  • Tactics include phishing emails, malware, exposing system vulnerabilities

Wire/Payment Transfer Fraud

  • Scammers infiltrate communication systems
  • They send fake invoices or payment details to redirect transfers
  • Funds end up in criminal accounts rather than in the intended recipients

Money Laundering

  • Criminals conceal the origins of profits from illegal activities
  • They route transfers through many accounts to hide paper trails
  • Money seems legitimate once finally deposited


  • Company insiders abuse entrusted access to siphon money
  • Tactics include creating fake vendors, padding expense reports
  • Thefts often go undetected for years

Investment/Securities Fraud

  • Scammers promote fake investment opportunities
  • Ponzi schemes use money from new investors to pay earlier ones
  • Victims lured by promises of big profits

Predatory Lending

  • Fraudsters convince borrowers to accept unfair loan terms
  • Loans structured to charge very high-interest rates
  • Borrowers unable to repay get assets seized

The ease of moving money online gives criminals more targets. High fraud profits and low detection risk make these tactics appealing. Stronger oversight is the best prevention.

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Strengthening AML Regulations to Prevent Financial Crime

Enhanced Due Diligence Requirements

A core requirement for all Lithuanian fintech companies is identifying high-risk customers and performing enhanced monitoring of any transactions made by those individuals or businesses. This includes: 

  • verifying identities
  • documenting the justification for large transfers  
  • detecting suspicious patterns indicative of theft  
  • laundering or other potential financial crimes 

Ongoing due diligence is key for early fraud intervention.

Comprehensive Reporting Standards

Fintech companies must adhere to strict requirements regarding the timely reporting of suspicious transactions or account activity to financial authorities and regulators. It includes filing reports within stringent time limits whenever fraud is detected or suspected. Fast reporting enables law enforcement to initiate investigations and the likelihood of perpetrators being quick.

Increased Supervision and Penalties

Lithuanian regulators closely supervise fintech operations, auditing processes, and staff training procedures regarding compliance and ethics. Steep fines can be imposed on companies demonstrating negligence, ignorance, or systemic compliance violations. Regulators can also revoke operating licenses entirely as the ultimate penalty. The threat of severe supervision and consequences motivates fintech’s to rigorously self-regulate.

Reasons for Financial Fraud in Lithuania

Here are some specific reasons why Lithuania may be facing a particular challenge with financial fraud:

  • Lithuania has a relatively high internet penetration rate: In 2022, 92.5% of Lithuanians had internet access. This high internet penetration rate makes it easier for criminals to target Lithuanian consumers with online scams.
  • Lithuania is a relatively small country with a small financial system. This makes it easier for criminals to target Lithuanian financial institutions because they are less likely to be able to detect and prevent fraudulent activity.
  • Lithuania is a member of the European Union. This means that Lithuanian financial institutions are subject to the EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which has made it easier for criminals to access customer data.

Review on Anti-money Laundering in Lithuania

  • Lithuania has a robust legal framework to counter money laundering, though its border with Russia/Belarus makes it vulnerable to financial crimes like smuggling and tax evasion.
  • VAT fraud has emerged as a major source of illegal proceeds in Lithuania.
  • Lithuania has passed laws prohibiting money laundering activities like property transfers, concealment of property information, and acquisition of property details obtained via criminal means.

Latest Assessments

  • A 2022 evaluation by MONEYVAL found Lithuania has made progress in addressing anti-money laundering (AML) deficiencies identified in past reports.
  • Lithuania was rated compliant/largely compliant on most technical aspects, but re-ratings are pending further progress on some recommendations.


  • The Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT) is Lithuania’s main agency investigating and enforcing AML violations.
  • The Bank of Lithuania is also executing supervision functions in terms of AML violations for financial market participants.
  • The FNTT oversees financial institutions, conducts inquiries, trains industry players, and develops policies.


  • Lithuania follows EU directives and global standards on AML/counter-terrorist financing established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  • Laws cover due diligence, suspicious transaction reporting, record keeping, sanctions screening, and more.

Lithuania has strong laws and agencies battling financial crimes but must continue enhancing its technical compliance with ongoing FATF recommendations.

How Lithuania’s Fintech’s Are Combating Fraud?

Advanced Identity Verification

Leading fintech companies have implemented advanced AI systems to authenticate customer identities during account openings and transaction approvals. Machine learning algorithms compare documents, biometrics, device fingerprints, and other information points to fraudulent applications and deny services when mismatches occur. These verification safeguards prevent fraud from the start.

Ongoing Transaction Monitoring

Robust monitoring systems analyze all incoming and outgoing transactions in real-time to identify unusual activity indicative of potential laundering schemes, organized theft rings, or other financial crimes. Unexpected counterparties, atypical transfer sizes, and abnormal transaction frequencies trigger alerts for internal investigations and reporting.

Cross-Institution Information Sharing

With the regulator’s support, Lithuanian fintech’s share information with other institutions regarding fraud typologies, perpetrator identifiers, and early indicators of suspicious activities. This collective insight into fraud patterns across Lithuania’s financial system equips all parties with better detection capabilities.


Lithuania’s impressive fintech growth has been paired with equally robust anti-fraud measures across regulatory policies, advanced company systems, and collective information sharing. This multi-layered approach ensures consumer protection and industry transparency – making the country an ethical and innovation-driven hub for global fintech.