By Axel Lier
A mobile phone call from Belgium? Often the astonishment or curiosity is great and you lose weight. But criminals are behind the calls, which are apparently reaching many Berliners and Brandenburgers.
A landline number with the area code 0032 is shown in the display. If you accept the call, a serious computer voice sounds in English. They are said to be connected to Europol, the European law enforcement and investigation agency.
A crime was allegedly committed with the personal ID number, says the voice, and you should now press “1” to be connected to an investigator.
A nasty trick: Whoever does this is already one step closer to the scammers – at the other end there is a real person asking questions, allegedly on behalf of the security authority. The scammers always have the intention of obtaining personal data and money from their victims.
By using alleged official names such as Europol, Interpol, the Federal Criminal Police Office or the Federal Police, the criminals deliberately put their victims in an exceptional psychological situation.
The police and consumer advocates therefore advise: It’s better to ignore the call right away, but don’t ignore it! Otherwise scammers will know the number is active. Do not call back the phone number on the display, block it on the mobile phone.
According to the Federal Network Agency, more than 7,000 consumer complaints have been received by the authority since the end of February.
The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) advises
- Do not give out personal or financial details over the phone.
- Don’t follow callers’ requests, don’t engage in conversation, or pressure yourself – just hang up.
- Also, never give money to strangers.
- If you receive such a call, file a criminal complaint with your local police station. Research the phone number of the police station yourself and dial the number yourself. Never use the callback button.