Online scammers will stop at nothing to get their hands on money. Thuringia police are now warning of the latest one.
The well-known “grandchild trick” scam has long plagued WhatsApp users as well. But that’s not all – criminals are coming up with ever more abstruse methods to cheat elderly people out of their money. In a recent case, the scammers pretend to be a military doctor on WhatsApp.
Criminals use WhatsApp for military doctor scams
The scam on WhatsApp runs as follows: a caller pretends to be a United Nations (UN) military doctor. He is stationed in Gaza and wants to come to Germany. In return, he has to transfer 500,000 euros to the person called in order to open his own account. This enables the con artists to obtain the account data.
In the case of a 68-year-old woman from Neuhäus, the Thuringian police report that the fraudsters got hold of the account data and money in the form of an iTunes credit card. The pensioner revealed her account details and the code for iTunes credit worth 25 euros to the scammers via WhatsApp before contacting her son. The latter called in the police and was thus able to prevent further damage.
When in doubt, contact the police
As with the “grandchild trick,” in this case, too, fraudsters presumably search the phone book for names that suggest elderly people. However, victims should already be suspicious when calling an unknown number. At the latest, however, when strangers ask for account data on WhatsApp, you should immediately call the police. It is inadvisable to send sensitive data to family and friends via WhatsApp – and even more so to unknown persons.
Fraud schemes of this kind are unfortunately very widespread. In a survey, nine percent of respondents in Germany said they had already been the victim of an online scam. Three percent have fallen victim two to three times and one percent even more than three times.