Beware of telephone scams: cyber gangsters disguise themselves as police officers

If your phone rings now: be careful. It could be scammers posing as police officers.

The Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office warns of fraudulent phone calls, which have been increasing for a few days. The callers pretend to be employees of the police facilities Europol or Interpol. They claim that there would be “inconsistencies or problems with the identity or bank account of the person called.” Allegedly perpetrators would misuse this data for crimes. Another version is that the identity of the person called was misused for criminal purposes. Therefore the data would have to be compared.

Camouflage by German phone numbers

German mobile phone numbers are shown on the displays of the person called – this is intended to reassure the person called. The fraudulent callers achieve this using call ID spoofing. The conversation always starts with a computer voice claiming that the tax ID or “ID card” was used. After that, the voice prompts you to press the “1” key. This redirects to a person posing as the above-mentioned employee of an international police authority. The person speaks in English with an Indian accent, police say.

Data are said to be matched

Now personal data is to be compared and new data is probably “captured” in the process. The police don’t know how the perpetrators choose their victims. The telephone numbers and data could come from data packages that have already been stolen, but it is also conceivable that the perpetrators select the telephone numbers at random.

Perpetrators threaten jail

If the person called refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with five years in prison. The gangsters take it to extremes, as the police explain: “In one well-known case, they were asked to transfer the money from their own bank account to a foreign account in order to avoid jail time.”

How to react correctly

This scam is not particularly credible. In addition, the attempt at fraud could fail due to the language barrier, not everyone understands English or wants to communicate in English. Nevertheless, the State Criminal Police Office of Lower Saxony attaches importance to warning against this scam. Do not give out any information about yourself and end the call. However, if you have already fallen for this scam, then report it to the police.

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