Neubrandenburg/Rostock (dpa/mv) - In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, fraud via the WhatsApp chat service has increased significantly. As the police announced on Friday, there were more than twice as many fraud attempts in the second quarter of 2022 as in the first quarter of this year. Around 200 such scams were reported from January to March, and well over 400 from April to June. In total, victims across the state lost more than 550,000 euros in this way in the first half of the year, it said. That is significantly more than in the entire previous year.
The scam seems easier to implement than the classic grandchild trick. Potential victims receive a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. In this way, many more people could be reached electronically at the same time than with a phone call. It usually says: "Hello mom, my cell phone is broken and this is my new number" or something similar, said a spokeswoman. There is often a smiley for this. If the addressee reacts, there is a short exchange, which is usually followed by a request that urgent bills can be paid by the person addressed.
The money will be paid back later, will be insured. It's usually three to four digit amounts. In 2021, tricksters in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania stole a total of around three million euros. That was about a third more than in 2020. Victims most often fell for fake police officers or bank employees.