In a significant move against telecommunication-based scams, the Federal Network Agency in Germany has deactivated a total of 7,799 phone numbers in 2023, with a whopping 5,898 attributed to the notorious “grandchild trick”. This scam involves perpetrators reaching out via SMS or Messenger platforms.
Klaus Müller, the President of the Federal Network Agency, emphasized the ongoing challenges posed by phone scams. “Even after 20 years, combating number misuse remains paramount. We continue to encounter new scam scenarios and respond with unwavering measures,” says Müller. Disturbingly, the “grandchild trick” accounts for more than two-thirds of the numbers that the agency has terminated this year.
Understanding the “Grandchild Trick”
This malicious strategy primarily targets the elderly, where fraudsters pose as relatives or close acquaintances, often children or grandchildren. The imposter typically claims an urgent crisis requiring immediate financial assistance. Leveraging fear and concern, the scam begins with messages like, “Hello dad or mom, this is my new number”, preying on unsuspecting individuals’ emotions to coerce money transfers.
Preventive Measures Against Trick Messages:
For those potentially in the crosshairs of such scams, here are crucial steps to ensure safety:
- Ignore Suspicious Requests: Should you receive any message soliciting money or personal details, it’s imperative to disregard it.
- Guard Personal Details: Never disclose personal data, including names or locations. Scammers exploit such information, twisting it to lend credence to their deceitful narratives.
- Authenticate the Caller: If an unfamiliar number purports to be a loved one, always cross-check by reaching out to the person using previously known contact details.
- Raise Awareness: Constantly educate and warn your community, focusing on the elderly who are more vulnerable to such tactics, ensuring they’re well-informed and vigilant.