“Hello dad, this is my new number…”. Some people have received this or similar SMS or messages via Whatsapp lately. In most cases, this is the well-known grandchild trick. In this scam, criminals pretend to be relatives in need over the phone or in text messages, often trying to persuade older victims to transfer money to them or even hand it over at their front door.
The Federal Network Agency continues to warn against fraud by telephone or messages and in 2023 switched off around 7,799 telephone numbers that were related to criminal intentions, with around 5,898 of them relating to the grandchild trick, as also reported by Spiegel. Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency, emphasized the continuing importance of combating number misuse.
“Even after 20 years, combating number misuse has lost none of its importance. New scenarios keep popping up and we take consistent action against them,” says Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency. “Currently, more than two-thirds of the numbers we have switched off relate to the grandchild trick scenario.”
Federal Network Agency continues to warn
The Federal Network Agency advises ignoring messages in which you are asked to transfer money or enter personal data: You should avoid giving out personal information such as names or locations as far as possible. This type of information could be used by scammers to make their stories more believable. Verification is also important. If you are contacted by an alleged relative with an unknown number, you should first try the last known numbers to see if they can still be reached. It is also important to tell older people in particular about these scams so that they are prepared.