- Cyber criminals use WhatsApp to specifically try to get older users to get their money.
- The scam is reminiscent of the grandchildren trick that tricksters have been using on the phone for a long time.
- Several such cases have already become known in Germany since spring 2021. A wave is currently rolling again.
Con artists apparently have WhatsApp discovered for himself. After the last cybercriminals succeeded with just one Message to take over numerous accounts, now more and more police stations are warning of the grandchildren’s trick known from the telephone.
In this case, the criminals pretend to be relatives of older people on the phone who have gotten into an emergency situation. The aim is to relieve the victim of cash or valuables.
There was already a corresponding wave of fraud in February and March 2021. Corresponding cases have been reported from Kierspe, Anklam, Schifferstadt and Itzehoe, among others, and now a new wave is apparently rolling. Corresponding cases were reported by police stations in Cologne, Wesel, Kleve, Ober-Mörlen, Roth, Kaarst and Lindlar in June.
This is how the grandchildren’s trick works
The mesh is always the same. The victims receive a WhatsApp from a number they do not know. This is supposed to be the son or daughter who has a new cell phone because the old one is defective. The reasons given here are often a fall in the toilet or being rolled over by a car.
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After a long chat with the victim, the perpetrators then fake an emergency situation and ask the victim to transfer money to them. Often the pretext used is that the cell phone currently in use does not support online banking, but that an urgent transfer would have to be made.
This is how you protect yourselves
The Police Headquarters Middle Franconia therefore recommends the following precautionary measures if you are contacted by an unknown number:
- Ask the alleged contact personally if you are contacted by a previously unknown number via messenger services such as WhatsApp.
- Don’t just include unknown numbers as contacts.
- Get suspicious if you are asked to pay money via messenger services.
- Checks the security and privacy settings of the messenger services you use.
Unfortunately allowed WhatsApp does not generally block messages from unknown numbers. Which You should change settings on WhatsApp for more security, you can find out in our linked guide.