In these weeks, reports of false “gambling winnings” are increasing across Germany. Similar to the classic grandchildren trick, the victims are mostly senior citizens or helpless people. Sometimes the fraudsters steal several thousand or even tens of thousands of euros. For this reason, the police are relying more and more on prevention in order to better protect potential victims.
Allegedly won 47,848 euros – for a short time the joy was great
A few days ago in Augsburg, Bavaria, a very old 86-year-old woman was called and informed about an alleged gambling win. The senior citizen won an incredible 47,848 euros. For a short time, the old lady was probably very happy.
But the prize has a catch: The lucky winner must first get several Amazon vouchers with a total value of 650 euros in the supermarket. After realizing that it was apparently an attempt at fraud, the woman quickly hung up and notified the police of the incident.
In another case, a 65-year-old man was contacted by the scammers and asked to provide his personal details including bank details. The fraudsters posed as representatives of a state lottery. But this man also recognized the scam and immediately hung up.
Similar cases have been increasing in Germany for several months. Up until some time ago, the fraudsters used a different scam: Using the grandchildren’s trick, they posed as a close relative of the victim and asked for money. This was then usually picked up by messengers from the injured party. It is not uncommon for the victims to lose considerable sums of money, in some cases even their entire fortune.
Police advise: “Hang up immediately!”
The police throughout Germany advise to hang up immediately if you fear that you have been contacted by a fraudster. Those affected usually recognize fraudulent calls by the fact that they are contacted by an unknown person who asks for money sooner or later during the call.
Past experience shows that many fraudsters systematically rummage through the telephone books for ancient-sounding first names. In this case, one prevention option would also be to be deleted from the telephone directory. At least when your name is “Wilhelmine” or “Hans”.
Won gambling – scammers get more creative
The grandchildren trick presented above is now known to many people in this country. For this reason, the criminal gangs had to develop further and develop new strategies in order to continue to act “successfully”. Currently, the procedure seems to have established itself in which the caller is told that he has won a competition or a game of chance. However, he must buy online vouchers in advance and transmit the voucher codes to the alleged competition operator by telephone.
The fraudsters thus minimize the risk of being convicted by the police. After all, they no longer even need a messenger or runner to collect the money on site for this scam. Instead, there is the option of operating entirely from abroad. In the recent past, prepaid cards for app stores or for the Google Play store have been requested particularly frequently. But Amazon vouchers were also very popular with fraudsters.
In not a few cases, the mostly very old victims were persuaded to buy the gift cards. In some cases, however, it is also thanks to the employees at the supermarket checkout that no damage ultimately occurred. These had often wondered about the unusual purchase made by the seniors and made them aware of the scam.
As before, fraudulent callers are a serious problem, especially among senior citizens in this country. After thousands of victims were deprived of their savings with the grandchildren’s trick, the perpetrator groups now have other approaches. Currently, the scammers often claim that there was a large win in gambling or in a competition. In order to be able to redeem this prize, however, online prepaid cards for several hundred euros must be bought by the victim.
In practice, this approach doesn’t always seem to work due to attentive supermarket cashiers and smart seniors. One must assume that the fraudsters will soon try new scams to make sacrifices for their wealth. The only effective means is prevention to prevent the very old people from falling for these scams.