Germans and expats in Germany receive an increasing number of spam or fraudulent calls every day. Are Interpol, Federal Police or Microsoft contacting people to inform them of alleged problems with their IDs or computers? Not really.
Berlin, June 3, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In an apartment in the Berlin district of Neukölln, the landline phone rings.
“Hello? This is Microsoft calling.
Judging by the person’s accent and the sound quality, the call is probably coming from Africa, even though the number displayed on the screen is a German number.
“What does it talk about?”
“There is a problem with your computer.”
“No there is not.”
“Yes there is.”
“Let me guess: you want my credit card number, don’t you?”
“What’s your name?”
“Why should I give you my name?” Microsoft does not call people to tell them about problems with their computers. Kiss my ass.
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The more calls of this type, the more times the F-word is used in multiple variants, at both ends of the line. Why would they call Germans, in English, and come up with this kind of nonsense? Does anyone really believe a word from these people?
These “Microsoft calls” came a few months ago. But it didn’t take long for the next wave of spam and scam calls to hit Germany. These days “Interpol” seems to be busy calling Germans and expats living in the country on their cell phones. Except that Interpol does not call individuals at all. “There is a problem with your ID card.” Again, the caller’s number on the screen looks real. But, this time, she tells the recipient to “press 1” for more information. The approaches taken by spammers vary. Sometimes the “Federal Police Department” is online.
Data and Money
According to the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the latest wave of spam calls has been going on for weeks. Some people get several each day. Blocking the caller’s number doesn’t seem to help much because it changes all the time. The BKA claims that the scammers were trying to collect personal data and extract money. Thousands of Germans have lodged complaints with the authorities. But, other than warning people not to give out personal data when these calls come in, there’s not much they can do.
The authors are technically savvy. Somehow they manage to capture German phone numbers that won’t arouse suspicion at first. They even use numbers belonging to German authorities, including the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. According to the police, these calls come from abroad, including other continents, and they are routed through several countries.
To hang up
Simply hanging up is the best way to handle these calls, according to the BKA. Talking to callers or even following up on their requests is not recommended. Affected people can file a complaint with the local police, but they should find the right number to call each other and never press the redial button. It is not known whether these measures can stop the tsunami of spam calls in Germany.
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