So far in 2023, the Federal Network Agency has switched off 7,799 phone numbers due to misuse. There were 5,898 cases of grandchild tricks alone, with fraudsters making contact via SMS or messenger. According to the authorities, they are currently strikingly common; they often begin with “Hello Dad or Mom, this is my new number”.
The authority uses the term “grandchild trick” to summarize cases in which older people in particular are contacted by alleged relatives, usually grandchildren and children, or good acquaintances. He or she describes an acute emergency situation that can only be resolved through an immediate money transfer. Those contacted are systematically frightened and ready to do anything to free the supposed relative from his predicament.
“We are taking consistent action against it”
“Even after 20 years, the fight against phone number misuse has lost none of its importance. New scenarios continue to emerge and we are taking consistent action against them,” said Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency. In the past, for example, calls from Europol were faked or lured with a supposed competition.
If you receive an SMS or message asking you to transfer money or enter personal information, you should ignore it. If a “granddaughter”, “grandson” or “child” calls with an unknown number, they should be contacted personally using the previously known phone numbers, advises the Federal Network Agency. The authorities list the numbers that have been switched off in a public list.
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