Coronavirus In Germany – What Kind Of Scams and Crimes Coming Up In The Pandemic Crisis?

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Oft melden sich Enkeltrick-Betrüger per Telefon bei Senioren (Symbolbild)
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/ picture alliance/dpa

Criminals are currently coming up with new ways to steal from people in the Corona crisis. On the phone, fraudsters pretend to be relatives who are sick.

For more than 20 years, the so-called grandson trick has been one of the most successful scams – in the age of the corona virus, criminals are now using it in a new form. This was announced by the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg (LKA).

Grandchildren’s tricks usually work in such a way that criminals search for and call old-fashioned first names in the phone book. They try to engage their mostly elderly victims in a conversation. They pretend to be relatives, acquaintances or police officers and demand money that the victim should hand over to a middleman or put in a supposedly safe place.

The State Criminal Police Office is now reporting a new trick in connection with the corona virus: criminals act as if they are relatives infected with the corona virus and need financial support for the treatment. They would ask their victims for money and other valuables that an alleged friend would pick up for them.

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The LKA advises that “Never give money or valuables to unknown people,” said LKA President Ralf Michelfelder. Also, details about family or financial circumstances should not be spoken to unknown callers. If you suspect fraud, you should contact the police under 110.



In order to track down possible fraudsters on the phone, the LKA advises:

  • to ask the supposed relatives for his name. You shouldn’t get involved in guessing games
  • to call back on the phone number that you have from your relative,
  • asking about things or experiences that only the relative knows.
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The Berlin police also know of such cases and have already warned of the scam on Twitter. She asked that family members be made aware of this. On the phone, you should be suspicious if the caller doesn’t give his name or if you don’t immediately recognize the alleged relative.

You shouldn’t let yourself be put under pressure and tell other close relatives if someone calls for money or other valuables on the phone.


Women ring the doorbell – the resident is said to be infected.
In addition to the grandchildren trick, fraudsters use other meshes in the corona crisis: According to a police report, two young women in Düren in North Rhine-Westphalia tried to use a trick to gain access to an apartment. So they rang the doorbell of an apartment building, and the 68-year-old resident opened the door.


The women “claimed to know that the resident had been infected with the corona virus,” the police wrote. You would have given to come to the apartment for “further examinations”. However, the resident did not respond and instead called the police, the women escaped.

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Essen: Alleged breathing mask sale
In Essen, an 85-year-old police received a call from a man who claimed to be a health official and wanted to sell her respirators. The woman did not fall for it and ended the call.

The Essen police also warned against letting strangers into the apartment who pretend to disinfect them. Caution should also be exercised with strangers who offer help with shopping.

Online criminals are also trying to profit from the crisis: the LKA Baden-Württemberg warns against so-called fake shops on online platforms. These would often pretend to sell respirators or disinfectants, but would not deliver them after receiving the money.


Full Article from Der Spiegel:
https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/coronavirus-landeskriminalamt-warnt-vor-corona-enkeltrick-a-d0797dcb-3ea4-4fe2-88a0-f3b9d29e084a


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