Sunday, 29 January 2023

Croats Falling Prey to Internet Scams: An Overview

 January 28, 2023 - Online scams are more and more prevalent in Croatia, reports Vedran Salvia on Index.hr.

There are more and more online scams in Croatia. Hardly a day goes by without the police sending out reports about all the people who have been scammed.

Huge increase in 2022 vs. 2021

Ten years ago, most people scoffed at attempted scams. At that time, it was mostly about various Nigerian princes who needed your help to free their millions. Today, Nigerian princes with funny Croatian language, which were made possible by then still undeveloped translation programs, are no longer in fashion. Today, the impression is that people of all ages fall for scams, and they do so for substantial sums for which they have been saving for years.

As for the year 2022, the Ministry of the Interior answered Index that a total of 1,864 criminal acts in the field of cyber security crimes were recorded, which is an increase of 19.3 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

"The largest number of cyberattacks is represented by various forms of computer fraud, the number of which increased from 1,158 to 1,425 criminal offenses, which represents an increase of 23.05 percent compared to the same period last year. The resolution of cybercriminal offences is 62.3 percent," said the police response.

How much damage is involved? We do not have data for the entire year 2022, but for the first 11 months, as informed by the head of the Cybersecurity Service of the Police Directorate, Renato Grgurić, in December of last year when he presented the project Strengthening the capacity of the police to combat cybercrime.

It is about the damage resulting from the cases that have been reported. Logically, there are indications that some do not register because people are ashamed.

"Damage this year was over six million euros, and this is only about the reported cases, which means that this number could be much higher, and that is a good enough reason for conducting this campaign to make citizens aware and prevent them from becoming victims of criminal acts," he emphasized.

We also checked how many cases of computer fraud there were in 2012, ten years ago. At that time, 505 computer frauds were recorded, which is almost three times less than today.

These are the most common scams

What are the most common internet scams? Here is how the police categorize them:

1. Identity theft (an independent crime or a preparatory act):

· Vishing - Phishing: A telephone scam in which fraudsters call you and try to get you to reveal your personal, financial or security information or to pay them money.

· Phishing - Online identity theft with fake e-mail messages: Fraudsters send you fake e-mail messages that try to trick you into sharing personal, financial or security information.

· Smishing - Identity Theft by SMS: This is an attempt by fraudsters to obtain personal, financial or security information via a text message.

2. CEO fraud / director fraud - Fraudsters pretend to be your boss or superior in the organization and trick you into paying a sum of money into a fake account or making an unauthorized transfer of money from a business account.

3. BEC (Business Email Compromise) Scam or Account Fraud - Scammers pretend to be your customers/suppliers and trick you into paying future bills to another bank account.

4. Counterfeit bank websites - A fake bank email with a link to a fake website is used. Once you click on a link, various methods are used to collect your financial and personal information. The page looks like a real website with a few small differences.

5. Romance Scams - Scammers pretend to be interested in a romantic relationship. These usually take place on online dating sites, and scammers often use social media or email to make contact.

6. Investment Scams and Online Shopping Scams - Trick you into thinking you're on a smart investment trail… or give you a great fake online deal.

7. Theft of personal information - Your personal information is collected through social media channels.

Frequent thefts via Njuškalo or Facebook Marketplace

The police added that by frequency we can single out the reported computer frauds where the victims sold items of negligible value on various online advertising platforms.

"The perpetrator would contact the seller-damaged through messages on various social networks/mobile applications, that he was supposedly interested in buying the item, stating to the victim that he had directed a postal delivery person to pick up the item he was selling, that he had already paid for the item and the cost of delivery to the online advertiser or to the delivery person or that he intends to pay the costs to the seller's bank account.

The victim is sent a phishing link that redirects them to a fake website, for example, which in terms of graphic design resembles the Croatian Post website, where a pop-up window opens for the victim to authorize payment by bank card. Thinking that he is paying the delivery man, the victim actually sends his confidential bank details to the perpetrator and thus ends up without money.

When we talk about internet platforms for which computer fraud is reported, these are Njuškalo, Facebook Marketplace and other online platforms for advertising," MUP states.

Due to the "new version of mobile banking", the company was left without several thousand euros

We wrote on Thursday that the company near Bjelovar was left without several thousand euros due to a computer fraud after the fraudsters induced its responsible person by e-mail to update the supposedly new version of mobile banking, but in fact it was about the so-called malicious message.

The Bjelovar-Bilogor police announced that a message was received on the e-mail of a company from Nova Rača with the name of the bank where it has an account and an alleged request to update the new version of mobile banking.

For that, you had to sign up at the link that was in that message, and when you clicked on the link, you were asked for your mobile banking login user number, PIN, and a one-time password that you received via SMS from the bank's number. During the day, a new e-mail message from that bank arrived, asking users not to open the earlier message because it is a malicious e-mail, that is, a phishing campaign aimed at the bank's clients.

Since the aforementioned employee opened the malicious message earlier, she called customer service and found out that several thousand euros were missing from the company's business account.

She paid a total of 17 thousand euros on 13 occasions

Just a day before, we wrote that the Dubrovnik Police Station received another report of the criminal offense of computer fraud.

"The fraud was reported by a 51-year-old woman who stated in her report that, after searching for information on how to trade cryptocurrencies, she received a phone call from a male person who communicated with her in English about the procedure for investing in cryptocurrencies," the police write.

Following his instructions, the injured party created her user account on the website of the company he recommended, after which she installed an application that enables remote control of a remote computer or mobile device.

"She then paid a total of 17,000 euros on 13 occasions, and when she saw a profit of 100,000 euros on her account, she requested the payment of said money. Since she has not received any response until today, she realized that she had been deceived and reported the whole case to the police," described the police.

The police announced at the time that in the case of cryptocurrency investment scams, the perpetrators usually contact the victims by phone from the +44 area code (area codes from Great Britain), and then direct them to fake investment websites.

In addition to fake sites, which really seem legitimate, the first step is to ask people to install applications that allow control over your computer, and then, if it is a scam, after installing various fake platforms that show a false statement about the earned income, potential victims are encouraged on further investments, which leads the victims to increasingly large sums for which they will eventually be defrauded.

There are a lot of investment sites and they are constantly shutting down and creating new ones. It is best to do some research before making any investments, suggests the police. "Sites that are used for fraudulent investment will usually offer posts in the Internet search engine itself, in which people express their negative experiences through comments and report these sites as fraudulent," the police write.

She wanted to trade in oil shares, she was left without half a million kuna

We also remember the case from December when a 63-year-old woman from Krk was left without half a million kuna, who, in the hope of making a profit in trading oil shares, paid money online to fraudsters who falsely presented themselves as brokers.

In the Primorje-Gorski Kotar police, they stated that the injured woman had complained to them that since September, unknown persons had repeatedly called her on her mobile phone and, posing as brokers, had convinced her of the profit by trading oil shares through their "trader" on the website .

Under the delusion that she would make a profit, she paid them about half a million kuna to various accounts on several occasions until December. But soon she came across warnings on the Internet and information that it was a group of organized fraudsters and that they would not return her money. She realized that she was deceived and reported everything to the police.

An "American woman" promised him marriage and then robbed him

It's not always about brokers or cryptocurrencies. In February, we wrote that a case of romantic fraud was reported to the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department, when at the end of January the year before last, a 57-year-old man was contacted via social media by a woman who introduced herself as an American citizen who is currently in Syria with her father, who is there engaged in the military.

The communication soon intensified and became romantic, the police write further, after which the woman announced her arrival in the Republic of Croatia in order to legalize their relationship. She soon announced that her father was killed in the war and left a sum of 200,000 dollars, which she wants to bring to the Republic of Croatia and put in the account of the 57-year-old, to which he agreed.

Then they described how the fraud and robbery took place.

"After that, the woman switches the communication to an alleged agent who will bring the money to the Republic of Croatia, and who asks the 57-year-old on two occasions to pay money for customs duties in order to successfully bring the money into the Republic of Croatia, to which the 57-year-old agreed and pays on two occasions a total of 4650 euros.

When he was asked to pay the money a third time for the same purpose, the injured man realized that he had been deceived, after which he reported the whole case to the police," they add.

Cyber security expert Morić: It is easier for fraudsters to find victims today

Index talked about this topic with Zlatan Morić, head of the cyber security department at Algebra University. It tells us that there are more scams today than there were in the past.

"Primarily due to the growth in popularity of the Internet and the increased amount of information being transmitted over the network. One of the reasons is that fraudsters are now able to use more sophisticated technologies and tools to produce fake websites and e-mail messages that look legitimate.

In addition, today it is easier for fraudsters to find potential victims through social networks and other online platforms. Today, people are more inclined to turn to the Internet for shopping and banking, which provides more opportunities for attacks," he adds.

"Fraudsters are now able to use more sophisticated technologies and tools to make an attack difficult to detect. Most commonly, various phishing techniques (content that looks legitimate and distributed via email or web pages) are used to gain personal information and/or access user accounts.

More sophisticated scams also include the use of technology such as malware (malicious programs - viruses), ransomware (malicious programs that demand a ransom) and Trojan horses (programs hidden inside another legitimate program) to break into users' computers and data.

Scammers also use advanced machine learning and data analytics techniques to automate the process of finding potential victims and personalize their scams. For example, today online translation services are much better than before and it is increasingly difficult to detect that it is a machine translation," he says.

"People believe what they see on the Internet"

He also touched on the question of why people fall for scams so easily.

"One of the main reasons is the desire for easy money. They can easily be deceived when they are offered the opportunity to make quick and easy money. It is also affected by carelessness or ignorance. People often do not pay attention to the details or do not understand how Internet fraud works , which makes them more susceptible to fraud.

Attackers try to take advantage of people's vulnerability (social engineering) because most people have difficulty responding rationally to different emotions (fear, guilt, empathy...) and make decisions without thinking. In addition, we also have the problem that people believe what they see on the Internet and do not check the information before using it in making decisions," he adds.

He says that it is difficult to determine precisely the ratio of frauds that concern financial gain and those that concern the destruction of computer systems, because different types of frauds intertwine and can have multiple goals.

"In general, in the last 10 years or so, behind most attacks is some form of financial gain. Fraudsters use a combination of different methods to get as much benefit as possible from each fraud. For example, fraudsters who use malware (primarily used for attacks on computer systems) often they also use the data they collect on the computer for financial fraud," he says.

"Cybercrime can be considered easier to carry out than the usual one"

Is cybercrime easier to commit than ordinary crime?

"Cybercrime can in some respects be considered easier (or safer for the attacker) to commit than conventional crime. One reason is the anonymity provided by the Internet. Fraudsters can remain undetected and operate from any location in the world, allowing them to avoid criminal prosecution.

Another reason is the wide availability of tools and technology to carry out cyber attacks. There are many free tools and scripts that can be downloaded online, allowing even inexperienced fraudsters to carry out cybercrime.

Attacks can also be automated, making it possible to attack a large number of potential victims regardless of where they are in the world. "When an attack is carried out on a large number of people, even with a small percentage of people being deceived, the attackers can make a lot of money," he explained.

There is also deepfake technology, it uses fake videos and has not reached us yet

Are there any frauds that, for example, have not yet come to us, but are frequent abroad?

"Throughout history, we are constantly playing 'cat and mouse' in the world of cyber security. Attackers discover new methods to exploit vulnerabilities, and then solutions are developed to prevent these attacks. As most attacks are based on social engineering (attacking people), there technical measures cannot give us complete protection.

I think we all lack a positive dose of mistrust. The Internet is global and most attacks occur in all countries. Sometimes, some more advanced methods are first discovered in more developed countries for potentially greater financial benefit.

The reason is that when a type of attack is detected, the manufacturers of antivirus solutions make an upgrade that prevents it. Attacks that are already happening in developed countries, and as far as I know, have not been reported here, are attacks based on deepfake technology (deepfake is a technique of using machine learning to create fake videos or audio recordings that look like they were recorded by another person).

As part of the Internet users are aware of the danger, and when they receive an email asking them for something unusual, they will try to do a check.

That's why attackers started using machine learning to simulate the voice of a person known to the victim (colleague, superior, etc.) and make the same request via phone/video call. With such attacks, our level of mistrust decreases and we are more ready to fall into the attacker's trap," he says.

These are tips

He points out that the development of technology leads to a greater number of attacks.

"The reasons are various, the increase in the number of Internet users also increases the number of potential victims, the increase in the number of different services increases the number of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit," he states.

We asked him what he would advise people about their behavior on the Internet.

"In general, try to behave online as you would in real life. If someone approached you on the street and asked for your credit card number/PIN, you probably wouldn't be willing to give out such information without being sure who is asking and why. Likewise you should also act when they ask you for the same information via e-mail," he adds.

He explained the basic safety tips for staying safe online:

Be careful when someone asks for your personal information.
Don't trust fake emails or messages asking you to enter your information.
Do not click on unknown links in e-mails or messages.
Do not disclose your PIN or password to anyone.
Don't answer numbers that have a strange area code or that ask you to enter financial information.
If you find yourself in a situation where you doubt the sincerity of the person you are communicating with, try to verify their identity or contact a professional for help.
Download and install a computer security program that will protect you from malware and other harmful programs.
Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
Be aware that scammers often use emotional tricks to get you to take quick action.
Police: Cybercrime is unlikely to decrease
Also, the police add that cybercrime is very dynamic and it is difficult to predict in what forms it will appear in the long term.

"However, cybercrime is unlikely to decrease, and new threats that emerged during the covid-19 pandemic will continue even after the current crisis is over.

The measures to prevent the spread of disease introduced during the pandemic significantly expanded the types of attacks and attack vectors (directions), as both citizens and companies used digital and Internet solutions more than before.

Lifestyle changes that emerged during the pandemic, such as working online, widespread online shopping, are unlikely to disappear after the pandemic is over. Cybercriminals will continue to look for opportunities to exploit these habits by adapting existing or devising new attacks," they added

In all police departments there are specialized police officers for cybercrime

"We believe that the risk of cyberattacks, including the misuse of personal data on the Internet, is still high, and in this context, the Croatian police continuously undertakes preventive activities to raise awareness of the public through thematic press conferences, announcements and the creation of audiovisual materials available on our website, Twitter and YouTube channel of the Ministry of Interior, and a web domain specialized in helping victims of cyberattacks with cryptolocker ransomware.

Below is the website of The No More Ransom Project and the announcement of the held press conference - Presented results of the NUBES operation and the redesigned NoMoreRanso website.

All police departments have specialized police officers for cybercrime, and any fraud or attempted fraud should be reported to the nearest police station. When applying, all available 'evidence' should be attached, i.e. correspondence that occurred during the commission of the fraud," said the Ministry of the Interior.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (January 28, 2023)

January 28, 2023 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring for the position of Senior Software Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are looking for excellent Java know-how, several years of practical experience in web technologies, and a team player with analytical thinking. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 15th.

OK Mobility is hiring a Local Administrative (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer you a fixed salary, a good working environment, teamwork, and access to a large and fully equipped fleet. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 17th.

Radman’s Building Services d.o.o. is hiring a Business Assistant (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer you a stable and motivational environment and the possibility of additional education. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 9th.

Adecco, for a client Endress+Hauser, is hiring a HR Manager (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer a stimulating and dynamic work environment, paid travel and meal allowance, annual bonuses and paid annual medical check-up. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 3rd.

CCPORTER Sp.z.o.o. is hiring a Sales Advisor with Croatian (m/f). They offer you work from home, a competitive basic salary and an attractive bonuses depending on the sales. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 23rd.

Jet2.com is hiring a Duty Manager (m/f) in Dubrovnik. They are looking for an inspirational leader committed to the development of others, passionate about delivering the highest standards of customer service and safety, with excellent administration skills and strong operational experience within an airport environment. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 20th.

Workforce, for a client, is hiring an IT Application Specialist (m/f) for remote work – within Croatia. They are looking for a good level of English, experience with ERP systems as a key user, and advanced knowledge of MS SQL. Send complete applications via the link by March 1st.

Falkensteiner Hotelmanagement d.o.o. is hiring a Social Media & Visual Coordinator (m/f) in Zadar. They are seeking for a min. 2 years of professional experience in social media marketing, and a high understanding and passion for the tourism and hospitality industry. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 10th.

Next Step career network is hiring a Junior Hotel Management Executive (m/f) in Austria. They offer you net monthly salary €2.500, 14 full salaries a year, and a full social benefit package. Send complete applications via link by Feb 17th.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring a Senior Backend - / ERP-Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are looking for know- how in programming and several years of practical work experience in the field of software development. Apply via this link by Feb 19th.

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For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

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These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

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Saturday, 28 January 2023

221,000 Croatian ID Cards Expired During Pandemic - What Now?

January the 28th, 2023 - An enormous number (221,000 in total) of Croatian ID cards expired back during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and given the fact that the Interior Ministry (MUP) told people not to bother worrying about it until after the end of the pandemic was declared, people just carried out with their lives. Now there's quite a monumental administrative task at hand.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, closed schools, restaurants, cafes, hair salons, bars, bans on gatherings, passes and COVID certificates. All of the above was our bizarre and unprecedented reality not so long ago. Almost three years ago, more precisely on March the 11th, 2020, the novel coronavirus entered the country and an epidemic was declared in Croatia. Is it over now? Yes and no.

"If the end of the pandemic ends up being declared, it means that the virus is still very much here, that it has entered into its endemic phase and that it will remain among us forever. Whether a decision will be made soon is very difficult to say. The information I received from Geneva is that this is the one million dollar question," said the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak.

This is being discussed by the World Health Organisation's emergency committee for COVID-19. There were sixty known and confirmed new cases of infection across the Republic of Croatia in the last 24 hours, and 411 patients are being treated in hospital for more severe clinical pictures.

"The situation is currently stable, we have 10 to 15 hospitalised patients. The situation now is completely incomparable to the one we had at the beginning. We knew little about this new virus or the issues it would present, we didn't have a vaccine, we didn't have the knowledge about what medicines we could use, but now the clinical picture of COVID-19 is milder,'' said the head of the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Ivan Puljiz.

71 percent of the Croatian adult population has now been fully vaccinated and had boosters, and there are more vaccines available.

"The government made a decision that large quantities of vaccines will now be exported to more distant countries. We unfortunately destroyed some 300,000 doses because their deadlines expired, and we were unable to donate them," explained Capak, adding that many people have come to terms with the new virus living among us like many others do and are no longer worried about it.

For now, the end of the pandemic doesn't mean the end of wearing masks in healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and care homes where clinically vulnerable individuals reside.

"In our case, meaning in the case of Croatia, we'll discuss whether this can become a mere recommendation. For now, while the weather is cold and we can get bigger numbers, we won't change anything,'' said Capak.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, expired documents such as Croatian ID cards and the like are still valid. More than 221,000 people now have expired Croatian ID cards, almost twice as many have expired passports. 78,500 people also have expired driver's licenses, writes Danas.hr/Today.hr. Thirty days after the end of the epidemic is officially declared, requests for new documents such as Croatian ID cards must be submitted to MUP.

"Regardless of the end of the epidemic being declared or not, people can start to plan and prepare to get their new documents themselves. We all have phones, search engines... choose your police department, select the services you need and reserve your date to come and get it all done,'' said Marija Goatti, a spokeswoman for the Zagreb Police Department.

While waiting for the announcement of the end of the pandemic, 12 cases of a new strain of the novel coronavirus - Kraken - have now been confirmed in Croatia. Epidemiologists don't expect any major problems to occur owing to it.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Pula Arena as an Exclusive Wedding Venue on Harper's Bazaar Cover

January 28, 2023 - No one can resist the imposing charm of the Pula amphitheater. There isn't a performer who doesn't want to perform in it, and as the situation is developing, there isn't even a millionaire, especially an Indian one, who wouldn't want to get married under the Roman arches of the Pula Arena.

So writes Poslovni, and the reason is a recent cover by the world-renowned women's magazine Harper's Bazaar, which was shot in the Pula Arena this spring.

The cover is adorned by a beautiful Indian newlywed couple. For that occasion, the Pula Arena was lavishly decorated, and the combination of two cultures made it look like a fairy tale, which, after all, is the goal of every wedding.

With this, Istria, known as a wedding destination, raises the bar and opens up to a new market with a high paying power, writes Glas Istre.

Many wealthy Indians look for unique locations for their fateful "yes", inviting 200 to 300 of their family and friends who like to spend lavishly, enjoy good food and expensive things and, in accordance with the times, stay in five-star hotels. So, this is about five-star weddings - that is the conclusion of the person responsible for the realization of the whole story, Velka Šuran. She is the owner of the company Weddings in Istria by LF and LF catering, a kind of brand in the organization of events and weddings, and the person who is behind this fantastic worldwide media success.

The Glas Istre journalists caught her for a chat with her American colleague and business partner Erica Jones, an interior designer for weddings and the best florist for Indian weddings who arrived to Pula from Boston. They are already making arrangements and preparing for another luxurious wedding that will take place this year, to be held in spring at the Pula Castello. She also took part in the realization of the Indian wedding, as did Pervez Taufiq, a famous American musician and the owner of a luxury wedding recording company who is also responsible for the editorial in the Pula Arena that ended up on the cover. Harper's Bazaar devoted several pages to Velka and Pervez.

Just as big events use big machinery in the Arena, so do preparations for a big wedding. Global production - the models were the Indian celebrity couple Monica Vaswani and Anthony Gomez. In addition to the famous wedding photographer Pervez Taufiq, his team also includes Joy Strotz, who publishes in Glamour and Vogue, among others. There was also the American Denise Lillie O'Neal, a wedding planner for Indian weddings. Local forces were also involved in the project - such as BelIstria, Florami, Tea Makeup, flower shop Leona. The tourism boards of Istria and the city of Pula, as well as the Cluster of Southern Istria, participated in the implementation of the project. In addition to Pula, the shooting took place in Motovun, Rovinj and Brijuni.

The serious story about Istria as a wedding destination, however, began with the visits to the DWP Destination wedding planners congress. In 2016, in Florence, Velka came into contact with the world's wedding organizers and received valuable information on how to create a destination for weddings. She began to apply her knowledge in Istria, and in 2021, at the DWP congress in Rhodes, Greece, representing Istria, she captured American wedding planners who recognized Istria as a new "hot spot", i.e. a new destination for weddings. It was a significant moment, because until then the wedding industry in Croatia had taken off seriously only in Dubrovnik, where spectacular weddings of world celebrities were organized, as well as a number of "normal" weddings of foreign tourists, especially Irish and British.

Her goal, just as it was then, is to develop this highly valuable tourist product and bring Croatia and Istria closer to wedding organizers from all over the world.

"My goal was to connect a colleague from Istria with the wedding industry from around the world. With our offer in Istria or Croatia, we do not deviate much from the rest of the world, and in terms of equipment and services, we are close to the trends. At the same time, we also have advantages, which is that we are still an undiscovered destination, kind of exotic. When I showed them the Arena and told them what I would like to do", they were delighted, she recalls.

"Secretly, since we started this project, we aimed for the pictures to appear on the cover, because when Taufiq saw the location, he freaked out and said that it would end up in a big newspaper, and he knows what he's doing," she said, revealing that Taufiq is a kind of rock star who has in a short time become the best videographer of Indian weddings, with Netflix filming a documentary about him.

With this move, Istria is opening the door to a new clientele with high paying power that we have not had the opportunity to see here so far. This means that weddings are becoming an important economic segment in Istria. No, the story doesn't stop there. A DWP (Destination wedding planner) congress is also in the works, which would bring 300-500 of the best from the world of weddings to Istria. Bride Looks, which gathers designers and wedding planners around the world, is also interested and could bring wealthy clients.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts to Help Sector With Fine Appeals

January the 28th, 2023 - The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) has stated that it intends to help those in the trade sector hit with fines by the State Inspectorate for raising their prices with their appeals. The hunt for those taking advantage of the switch to the euro by upping their prices is continuing, with many fines already issued.

As Index writes, every fourth inspection by the State Inspectorate has alarmingly showed unjustified price increases after December the 31st last year, the last day before the Eurozone accession. In some sad cases, the prices of services rose by up to 30 percent, and bakery products rose in price by an average of 15 percent in retail trade. The state doesn't intend to stop hunting down enterprises who have hiked their prices up, while on the other hand, traders feel victimised and intend to take legal steps to contest those fines, according to HRT.

Cases of high fines being issued throughout the trade sector due to unjustified price rounding are being published daily. The state has so far undertaken almost 1,500 inspections, and in about 300 cases price increases have been found, while another 200 are still being analysed - which means that this percentage could very easily (and drastically) increase.

"I believe that we'll meet the goals we've set for ourselves. It's difficult for me to comment on my colleagues from the State Inspectorate, but the percentage of 25 percent is not small. I believe that due to the supervision, a good number of companies decided on their own initiative to return to their previous prices [from December 2022]. I think the State Inspectorate is doing a good job," said Jurica Lovrincevic, an advisor to the Minister of Economy.

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK): We'll help traders in preparing appeals

The list of price increases since the New Year is led by various services, which on average have increased in price by almost 30 percent. But some hairdressers, restaurateurs and other enterprises believe that they're being targeted and unfairly punished.

"We started this story in order to engage law firms, and I hereby call on all fellow craft owners who have received misdemeanor orders to contact their associations, to contact our advisory service at the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, and we'll certainly help them in preparing appeals for the misdemeanor courts,'' said Dalibor Kratohvil from the Croatian Chamber of Crafts.

"We believe that all these fines and penalties are unfounded, we believe that this shouldn't have happened because it's always the small companies who suffer in these stories, and those are the last in the chain, micro-enterprises," he added.

Lawyer Doroteja Jurcic also pointed out that there are a number of problems with these misdemeanor orders.

"Every misdemeanor order from any part of Croatia is absolutely the same, it has an identical explanation, which speaks in favour of the fact that these are previously written explanations that aren't actually related to whatever the specific case at hand is at all. I think that there's already a problem. What the State Inspectorate refers to in its reasons are the Consumer Protection Act and the application of aggressive business practices by traders or enterprises," explained Doroteja Jurcic from the Voice of Entrepreneurs (UGP) Association.

"The prescribed fines for craft owners are from 5 to 15 thousand kuna, for legal entities they're slightly higher, for natural persons as owners they are the same - from 5 to 15 thousand kuna. So, a legal entity that has a d.o.o. or j.d.o.o. finds themselves in a situation of receiving two penalties, one as a legal entity, and another as a natural person, the owner," she added.

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP): There have been no unjustified price increases

Mirko Budimir, vice president of HUP and representative of small retailers, emphasised that there have been no unjustified price increases and that retailers haven't increased their margins. An increase occurs if the retailer has increased their own margins, he pointed out.

"I'd say that there have been no unjustified increase in prices. What we did at the beginning was the conversion from the kuna to the euro. The state inspectorate showed that we did not have any violations, if we have, then these are minimal offenses simply because someone got the conversion wrong. As for raising prices from the position of a small trader, I can say that there was no price raising either, but we have to keep in mind that trade is a process that we can't just say ceases on December the 31st, 2022, and then nothing else ever happens," said Budimir.

"If a trader was purchasing goods sometime on December the 20th, 2022, and their prices went up until December the 31st, that means that they already had a new input. When they receive a new input, then they have to do a new calculation. Traders form their prices so that they have an input price from the manufacturer, that is, the supplier, increased by their own margin and then by VAT. In this entire process which is carried out, it can be seen that the trader didn't increase their margin even though they had an increase in costs," he concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

HDZ Claims That Russian Media is Praising President Zoran Milanovic

January the 28th, 2023 - We all know that President Zoran Milanovic (SDP) is one to make sometimes rather strange remarks, and he isn't at all shy when it comes to saying precisely what he thinks of everything and... well, everyone. Unfortunately, some of his statements have made him popular with the Russian press, and HDZ isn't having it.

As Index writes, HDZ recently took to Facebook in order to publish some of the titles and images of articles published in the Russian media space that convey the statements of President Zoran Milanovic about sending Western tanks into Ukraine.

"If America and Russia don't come to an agreement, and that currently isn't something that is in sight, this war will not stop. Somehow I hope that some kind of talks do continue, or we will slowly move towards WW3, which some people think has already started, but I'm a little more reserved on that front. As for the tanks, both Russian and American will burn," President Zoran Milanovic said recently, among other rather alarming things.

HDZ called him out in its social media publication with the taunting title "From Russia with love/Iz Rusije s ljubavlju".

"The caries (an insult comparing the president to a persistent form of tooth decay) from Pantovcak is once again being showcased as a hero by the Russian regime's media. How could they not praise and celebrate Zoran ''Lex Perkovic'' Milanovic when he, much like the Kremlin, insults Germany and condemns it for the delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine? When he fervently spreads ideas which have already been being expressed Vladimir Putin's own spokesman Peskov, claiming that these tanks will 'burn' and threaten humanity - in order to stop aid from being sent to Ukraine - with 'a new world (nuclear) war?'' wrote HDZ.

"He wants Croatia to be in the ''Russian world'' they wrote, using the word ''svet'' instead of the Croatian word ''svijet'' for ''world'', in an apparent jab by using Serbian spelling.

''At the same time, President Zoran Milanovic has been saying things about the Germans, claiming that "that they've already tried to go to war with Russia", alluding to Adolf Hitler - similar to when he accused Ukrainians of "Nazism" because they don't agree with being enslaved. He also claims that the delivery of German and American tanks will ''only prolong the conflict'' (hm, conflict, not aggression or invasion). In translation - He demands that Kyiv capitulate!

Milanovic is now quite openly working in the interest of Russian aggression and Vladimir Putin's undemocratic regime, and against Ukraine, Europe (which he once again showered with insults) and the West. He wants Croatia in the "Russian world". But don't worry: Grbin & Grmoja will continue to support him, and will continue to claim that they ''see nothing objectionable'' in his statements," HDZ's Facebook post reads.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Croatian Love Island Galešnjak Put up for Sale for 13 Million Euros

January 27, 2023 - An interesting ad appeared online, selling a part of the heart-shaped island Galešnjak, also known as the Croatian love island. The price is 13 million euros, or, to use the former Croatian currency, about 98 million kunas.

Morski cites the ad, originally published on Index. "A heart-shaped island with approximately 142,000 m2, of which slightly more than 30,000 m2 are for sale which is, of course in one piece and spread on more than 500m of sea shore. Now one more parcel added and joint together in one piece bigger then 40 000 m2! You can do something really unique with this real estate, especially when you have guests with yachts like Beyonce and Jay Z (Beyonce even celebrated birthday there), Jeff Bezos, Michael Jordan, etc. parked all the time".

As one of the options, the ad suggests starting an agricultural trade.

"One of the options is opening OPG! An agricultural farm that can be worked on an area of ​​three hectares. In addition, 400 square meters of above-ground buildings and 1,000 square meters of underground buildings can be built. What is an excellent opportunity for agricultural elite tourism with a villa and/or restaurant and a large warehouse for olives, wine, and other herbs..."

"That's right, three hectares of the island have been advertised for sale. The interest is relatively high for now, and some investment funds have shown the most serious interest, Silvestro Kardum, the seller's representative, confirmed for Zadarski.

"I don't have a real estate agency; I am just helping the owners with the sale. These are four connected plots owned by several people, with a total area of about 32-33 thousand square meters. There are maquis trees on that land, and there used to be olive trees. All ownership documents are in order, and the owners are registered. The owners are from Mrljan on the island of Pašman. The owners of the rest of the island were not interested in selling", adds Silvestar, who believes that he will succeed in selling part of the most famous Croatian island.

"According to the existing law, it is possible to build a villa or a restaurant with an area of 400 square meters and another 1,000 square meters of basement space in such an area with OPG for growing olives or vines. The investment could certainly pay off", he emphasizes.

The ad states that the plots for sale are located about 500 meters from the coast.

The island of Galešnjak in the Pašman channel is one of the most recognizable Croatian islets, and Brightside once included it in its list of 20 wonders of the world. In 2019, scientists from the Department of Archeology of the University of Zadar discovered that people lived there more than 7,000 years ago.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Friday, 27 January 2023

SuperSport HNL Transfer News: Latest with Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek

January 27, 2023 - A look at the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news from the top three teams in the league this season - Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek. 

The winter transfer period continues in the Croatian league, and while we have seen many stars leave Croatia already, we haven't seen many new players coming in... yet. We bring you the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news. 

Dinamo

Dinamo has been in the spotlight lately, and not for its success. Fierce conflicts within the club have affected the atmosphere at Maksimir. 

Thus, Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi asked to leave the club a few days ago and came to Maksimir with two offers. However, it seems that Dinamo leaders and coach Ante Čačić did not agree with his demands. 

Gol.hr reports that it is speculated that he will be offered a new Dinamo contract, but it is not excluded that there will be a transfer if the compensation is satisfactory.

Dinamo already sold a hugely important player in this winter transfer window when Mislav Oršić went to Southampton. With Bruno Petković injured and out of action for some time, Ademi's departure would be a big blow for Dinamo, especially after a surprising draw against Gorica to start the spring season.

Croatian media revealed on Friday that Dinamo is interested in bringing Swiss center back Bećir Omeragić, who would like to join the Zagreb club this winter transfer window.

Hajduk

Hajduk and French club Nimes Olympique agreed on the transfer of 24-year-old offensive midfielder Yassine Benrahouwho signed a contract with the Split club until the summer of 2026, with the option of extending it for another year. 

The new Hajduk player took his first football steps at the football academy AS Bondy and continued to develop through the academies of Bordeaux and the elite football academy "Clairefontaine."

He made his first senior appearances for Bordeaux's second team, and in the 2019/2020 season, he joined the first team and played ten official matches. He then moved to Nimes, playing in the first and second divisions. He played 91 games for Bordeaux and Nimes and scored 14 goals with 14 assists. For Bordeaux's second team, he played another 23 games and scored five goals with three assists. In addition, he played for France's U-16 and U-17 national teams. 

"Yassine is a player who, at the age of 24, has experience playing in the two highest leagues of French football. At the same time, he is a player who, during the negotiations, showed a strong desire to come to Hajduk. He has a versatile offensive player profile as an offensive midfielder who can also play well as a central midfielder and on the right wing. He uses his left foot dominantly and has excellent technical characteristics. In the attack, he perceives space very well, with a good overview, anticipation, and idea of the game," said sports director Nikoličius. 

Osijek

Croatia national team goalkeeper Ivica Ivušić will no longer defend for NK Osijek but will continue his career in Cyprus at the first league club Phafos. Ivušić received permission from the club to go for medical examinations, missed the team training, and flew to Cyprus earlier this week, where he signed. 

Osijek will reportedly earn around two million euros in addition to bonuses and a percentage of future sales.

If the bonuses are realized, Ivušić can become one of the club's most significant transfers. On the other hand, Ivušić became the most expensive player in the history of Pharos. 

Osijek already sold Dion Drena Beljo to Augsburg and Laszlo Kleinheisler to Panathinaikos during this transfer window. Ivušić is the third key player who has left Osijek so far. Marko Malenica, Osijek's second goalkeeper, will now be the starting goalkeeper. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Price Increase Data: Here is How Croatia Compares to Rest of EU

January 27, 2023 - Eurostat has published data on the food price increase in the EU, broken down by member state. Croatia can be compared with the average and other countries, which reveals how much and why/who caused food prices to rise in previous years and in quite a bit of detail.

As Index writes, food prices can be monitored in several ways. For simplicity of presentation, they compared Croatia with the EU average, neighbouring countries Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy, and Germany as the largest EU economy. Slovakia was also added as the EU country most similar to Croatia in terms of population and standards.

In addition to the overall price increase, data are also given by the type of food products. Readers can select the categories by clicking on the menu in their interactive tables. Tables with data on the increase in the prices of bread, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, oil, fat, fruit, vegetables, beer, and wine have been published. 

How much have food prices increased in stores?

The most important category of food price increase for citizens is the harmonized index of consumer prices, which is actually a measure of inflation and shows how the prices in stores paid by end customers, i.e. citizens, have changed. In December 2022, the food price in Croatia, according to the harmonized index of consumer prices, was higher by 19.7 percent compared to December 2021.

This is a higher price increase than in Italy, a little higher than the average of the EU and Slovenia, and at the level of Germany. In Slovakia, food became more expensive, but the absolute record holder is Hungary, where the price of food in stores was higher by 49.6 percent during December 2022 compared to December 2021.

Bread

Understandably, not all categories saw an equal price increase. The price of bread in Croatia increased much more than in Italy, Slovenia, and the EU average. Approximately the same increase was recorded in Slovakia, while Hungary, with an increase of 82.1 percent, is the absolute EU record holder. Interestingly, in October the price increase of imported bread in Croatia was 30.9 percent, far less than in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia, where the import prices of bread increased by about 50 percent.

Meat

Meat price increase in Croatia is at the level of the EU average (17 percent), more than in Italy, and less than in Germany and Slovenia. Slovakia and Hungary stand out with a particularly high price increase, of 30 and 40 percent. Along with the increase index of consumer prices, i.e. prices in stores, the increase of import prices of a product and the growth of producer prices can be monitored.

In November, producer prices of meat in Croatia increased the least of the observed countries and less than the EU average. But data for October show that import prices in Croatia increased the most of all countries except Hungary.

Looking at the types of meat, chicken stands out, whose price increase in Croatia (18.1 percent) is the lowest among the observed countries and below the EU average (23.5 percent).

Milk, cheese and eggs

The prices of milk, cheese and eggs in stores (consumer prices) in Croatia were higher than the EU average, but lower than in Germany and Slovakia. The price increase of 73.2 percent in Hungary compared to December 2021 is by far the highest in the EU (the second highest is in Lithuania and amounts to 47.4 percent).

Looking at categories, the price of fresh whole milk in Croatia has increased the least compared to the EU, although until August Croatia was the record holder for the increase in the price of this food. However, between August and December, the price dropped sharply, so Croatia ended the year with the lowest increase in the price of these foodstuffs among the observed countries. It is interesting that data from October for import prices of that product show the highest increase in Croatia, even though consumer prices have been falling sharply since August.

The increase of the price of eggs in Croatia is extremely high, by as much as 64.5 percent. This is less than in Slovakia and Hungary, but far above the EU average (30.2 percent). The increase in the prices of yogurt and cheese does not deviate that much from the EU average, although it is higher in Croatia.

Oils and fats

The prices of oils and fats grew the least in Croatia of the observed countries. Until June 2022, it was even higher than the EU average, but since then it has been sharply decreasing. Import prices recorded a significant growth during the year (33.6 percent), although they have been decreasing since June. Producer prices in Croatia increased much less than import prices, and in December they were only 5.5 percent higher than in the same month of 2021.

Fruit

The increase of fruit prices was on average weaker than the increase of other food products. In Croatia (9 percent) it is slightly higher than the EU average (8.1 percent). Interestingly, overall, since 2015, the price of fruit has increased by 17.2 percent in Croatia, 29.9 percent in the EU, and even 94.5 percent in Hungary. For Croatia, this is the lowest price increase since that year for all food categories.

Vegetables

The increase of vegetable prices in Croatia (8.8 percent) is the lowest among the observed countries and below the EU average (15 percent). Compared to 2015, these prices are 23.2 percent higher, and the record holder is Hungary with 117.9 percent higher prices in December 2022 compared to the average price of vegetables in 2015.

Fish and seafood

The prices of fish and seafood in Croatia grew more than the EU average, 17.7 percent versus 13.3 percent. Of the observed countries, the growth was higher only in Germany, and in Hungary it was so high (39.4 percent) that it belongs in its own class. The increase in import prices was higher than the increase in producer prices.

Beer

Considering other food products, the price of beer did not increase significantly. In Croatia, a growth of 10.7 percent was recorded, which mostly occurred in December. If it had not been for that sudden jump, the price increase would have been only 5.1 percent, the smallest of the observed countries. The record holder is Hungary again.

Wine

The increase in the price of wine in Croatia in 2022 was atypical, for most of the year it was higher than in Hungary. In December, price increase compared to the same month last year was 18.6 percent, which is a slowdown compared to November. Hungary did not slow down, so it overtook Croatia with a growth of 19.5 percent. The EU average is 7.6 percent.

Producer and import prices

In Croatia, the price increase of imported food was at 25.3 percent, less than the producer price, which grew by 17.1 percent. This means that the increase in prices results more from the increase in import prices than from the increase in the prices of domestic producers. The same applies to Italy and Slovenia.

Hungary has the opposite situation - the increase of producer prices in the country is higher than the increase of import prices. Although producer prices refer to the prices of domestic and foreign producers, import prices refer only to foreign countries. From this, it can be concluded which had a greater impact on the growth of consumer prices in stores.

In December, there was a noticeable slowdown in the price increase of most categories of food products. At the EU level, the food price index (HICP) fell from 18.3 to 18.2 percent, which may be a hint of the beginning of a new trend. In Croatia, the increase has been slowing down since the end of October, when increase compared to the same month last year was 20.5 percent, and in December 19.7 percent. This does not mean that prices are falling, but it is a signal of slowing increase.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Winter is Finally Here: Four Croatian Ski Resorts Opening This Weekend

January 27, 2023 - The cold and snow have finally arrived, and fans of winter sports will be delighted by the news that four Croatian ski resorts are opening this weekend: Sljeme, Platak, Čelimbaša near Mrkoplje and the ski resort in Ogulin.

As 24Sata writes, after an unusually warm December and beginning of January, real winter finally appeared in the last two weeks and snow fell all over Croatia.

After enough snow finally fell, four Croatian ski resorts decided to open their slopes for the public.

On Saturday, January 28, 2023, the skiing season will begin at the Sljeme Ski Resort, with the slopes open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Owners of axess ski tickets from last year and the year before can refill them on the website. Daily ticket prices on weekdays are 9.29 euros for adults, 5.31 euros for children up to 15 years old, and 6.64 euros for skiers over 65 years old. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, prices are 13.27 euros for adults, 6.64 euros for children up to 15 years old, and 9.29 euros for skiers over 65 years old.

On Platak near Rijeka, the Radeševo 1, Tourist and Baby trails are open, while all remaining trails should also be open for the weekend: Radeševo 1, Radeševo 2, Zavoj 19, Tourist, Pribeniš, Tešnje and Baby trail as well as the sledding grounds.

As in previous years, night skiing will be possible on Tuesdays and Fridays from 19:00 to 22:00, and day-night skiing on Thursdays from 12:00 to 20:00, whenever the weather conditions permit. Daily skiing and the working hours of the cable cars, cable cars and ropeways are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. The ticket office opens at 8 a.m., and for night skiing on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. See ticket prices HERE.

Furthermore, the Čelimbaša ski resort near Mrkopalj will open this Saturday. Opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and ticket prices are as follows: half-day €10, full-day €15.

Finally the Ogulin ski resort in Ogulin will also be ready for the weekend, with free entry as well.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

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