The GuardianThe Guardian

‘Europol ploy’: mass phone scam defrauds Germans of millions of euros

By Philip Oltermann

12 Jul 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

If you receive a call from the "Europol" who may have discovered incriminating evidence against you, cut it. It is a common scam in Europe exploiting a flaw in telecom infrastructure.

One recent summer afternoon, Christof Bock, a 38-year-old Berlin-based data engineer, picked up an incoming call from an unfamiliar number. Over a crackly line, he was informed in English that his ID and bank details had been found in a police raid in suburban Berlin, alongside 20lb (9kg) of cocaine and paperwork showing transfers from his account to Colombia. To protect his savings, he was urged to transfer money from his bank account, and fast.

The call to Bock’s mobile was one from a deluge of scam calls that have inundated German citizens in recent months, through which scammers who impersonate Europol and Interpol officers, and spoof the international law enforcement agencies’ phone numbers, have collected private data and defrauded people of millions of euros.

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