Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: tricksters with record loot in the north-east

Damage caused by scams continues to increase in north-eastern Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: tricksters with record loot in the north-east

Damage caused by scams continues to increase in north-eastern Germany. In 2022, the perpetrators have so far been able to "take" 3.8 million euros. One scam is particularly popular.

Schwerin/Neubrandenburg/Rostock (dpa/mv) - Tricksters have stolen more money in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2022 than ever before. As can be seen from a list by the State Criminal Police Office MV in Rampe near Schwerin, the mostly older victims had already lost a total of 3.8 million euros by mid-December. That is around 800,000 euros more than in the previous record year 2021 and almost twice as much as in 2020.

The fraudsters are now even more professional: the number of attempts has only increased slightly to almost 3000 cases, and there were 2800 attempts in the whole of 2021. The perpetrators received money in more than 570 cases, which corresponds to a "success rate" of 19.1 percent. This was only half as high in previous years. The LKA sees the so-called WhatsApp fraud cases as one reason for the development.

"This scam has largely replaced the classic grandchild trick, in which the victim is elaborately deceived and persuaded on the phone," said a police spokesman. In 42 percent of all cases, the first contacts are now made via WhatsApp or SMS and WhatsApp. The unknown senders pretend to be close relatives and say that their cell phone number has suddenly changed. As a result, the request comes that the person called should please take over transfers, because that is not yet possible with the new mobile phone.

According to the LKA, the wrong police officers or lawyers - often with a so-called shock call about a bad accident involving a close relative who now needs bail - stole the most from all the scams, with 627,000 euros. That corresponds to around 21,600 euros per case. This was followed by false bank employees with 15,000 euros per successful attempt and the love scammers. They captured almost 300,000 euros, which corresponds to 12,400 euros per case.

The police headquarters in Neubrandenburg had started an information campaign to raise awareness among seniors about fraudsters. The slogan of the campaign is "One call is enough". This indicates that one phone call is all it takes to get all of the victim's money. At the same time, a call to relatives or the real police is enough to expose the fraud.

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