district of Diepholz. The cases of attempted fraud via short message services such as WhatsApp have increased rapidly in the Diepholz district. According to police spokeswoman Marei Tatgenhorst, 83 cases were reported to the police inspection between May and July, 26 of which were successful for the perpetrators. “This results in total damage of around 62,350 euros in the Diepholz district alone,” says Tatgenhorst. “Hello Mom, it’s me. Just wanted to let you know that my phone is broken.” This or similar messages often start the scam, with the perpetrators targeting older people in particular.
The scammers pretend to be a daughter or son via WhatsApp with a new number and say that their cell phone is defective and that the cell phone number has changed. The injured party is then asked to delete the old phone number and save the new one. It is also stated that a phone call or voice message is not possible because the microphone is not working. In a cleverly tangled conversation in a chat, the supposed daughter or son suggests that they really urgently need to make a transfer, which is not possible due to the old, defective mobile phone. The parents are therefore asked to pay in advance and a German Iban will be sent for the purpose of bank transfer.
“The main thing is that the transfer is made in real time,” said the police spokeswoman. It often only turns out afterwards that the transfer was not made for the right children and that the victims were usually relieved of four-digit amounts of money. “It is also assumed that the number of unreported cases is also very high,” says Tatgenhorst. However, nobody should shy away from notifying the police and their own bank in the event of damage. A return transfer may still be possible.
The police again warn against such contact, especially via WhatsApp and SMS from supposed relatives. Money should never be paid or transferred as a result of such messages. The police advises to be suspicious and to establish personal contact with relatives in such cases. In particular, it is recommended to always call back the child’s presumed old number first. Further information is available online at www.polizei-beratung.de/startseite-und-aktionen/aktuelles/detailsicht/enkeltrick-betrueger-benefit-whatsapp/ or www.polizei-praevention.de/aktuelles/angebliche-whatsapp-familien-kontakte -bitten-again-um-hilfe-bei-überweisung.html available.