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Scam call in Germany-my experience
Germany,  Germany Diaries

Scam call in Germany- how I fell to a “fake BKA officer”

One cold Wednesday afternoon on November 17, 2021, at around 14:00, while I was starting to have a fun video call with my friends whom I hadn’t seen in years from the Philippines, I received a scam call in Germany. But, of course, I had idea that it was a scam. All I knew was that I was speaking to a Federal Criminal Police Office, also known as Bundeskriminalamt or BKA– which turned out to be a “fake federal office and a fake BKA officer.” But to clarify and avoid confusion, Bundeskriminalamt or BKA exists. They’re real. Germany’s Federal Criminal Office is Germany’s federal investigative police agency, directly subordinated to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Here’s how I fell to a fake BKA officer and nearly gave my bank accounts.  

Receiving a scam call in Germany- and how did it all begin.

Hallo, Guten Tag. I am Doron Weber from Bunderskriminalamt, and this is my badge number. Can you get a pen and notebook to write my badge number? Sure I did. Doron Weber, badge # 417D2741.

I was very obedient and calm.

Then he continued, I am here to investigate that you are part of a crime punishable by law in Germany. Are you aware that you are doing money laundering and drug trafficking and have made 33 loans under your account? You have in our system 33 accounts and have made loans for cars and others. And to let you know, this is recorded. Also, this crime you committed has a jail punishment of 30 years and a 200,000 euro penalty.

By this time, I was already shocked. 

He carried on.

Now listen to me carefully; tell me your complete name and address. 

I did—my real name and address. (yep!)

Did you make some changes to your last name recently? Did you send your residence permit id (aufensthaltstitel) to any of your friends, relatives, or applications?

Yes, my bank account last name changed. I used to have Mendoza as my last name, but now that I am married, we want to use Kaiser, my husband’s last name. 

Okay, maybe some culprit uses your nameome culprit. But we’re not sure yet; therefore, we are here to investigate.

Yes. Online, like the one from the ++++++. And I think that’s all, or maybe I did for some transactions, but now I don’t remember. 

Listen, this is recorded; you know this, and anything you say will be used against you. So you cannot interrupt me while I’m talking; listen carefully. Will you be willing to give information so that we can resolve this issue and the allegations? 
yes

I have some questions for you and answer me yes or no, no other words, okay? 

I politely agreed. Speaking to someone criminal at that moment didn’t cross my mind, let alone having actually entertained a scam call in Germany. Why? Because it’s Germany. I know, right?!

Yes. 

Are you part of this money laundering under your name and drug trafficking and some loans?

No.

Are you willing to cooperate that we help you solve this problem?

Yes.

Explaining myself unconsciously

Now I’ll give you time to explain and tell me why you did not commit this crime.

Now was my time to explain me and convince them that I’d been a victim of a false identity. So I began.

First of all, I only work part-time now, meaning I only earn +++++ a month, so committing these crimes is impossible. Second, I haven’t been to Berlin, where the transactions were made, and lastly, I do not know about any of these crimes you are relating to me.

Are you sure of this?

Of course.


How many cards do you have?

I have one.

Okay, let me check your information on our system. It says here you have three cards.


No, I only have 1, really.

What’s your bank?


+++++

I have only one credit card and some debit cards. So I even grabbed my wallet and checked if I did have my cards with me, and they were only one card. Upon checking, I figured I had three cards, but I didn’t mention them to him. But the thing is, they’re connected, which means even if they’re 3, they share precisely the same amount. Or at least one is credit, which means I could go beyond the limit and go negative.

How much money do you have in your bank account?

He asked again.
+++++++euro

Okay, now I am going to call your local police station. Can you tell me your local police station number?

Sure, so I went to my laptop, checked the local police station number, and gave them the local police number.


Soon, he connected me, so three people were already on the line. I spoke to the “fake police officer,” and he said,
okay, we won’t arrest you, but please follow all the instructions from the Bundeskriminalamnt.

He also told me other things which I couldn’t remember anymore.


Life in Germany

RELATED READ: Life in Germany


Speaking to a new “fake police officer” on the phone

Soon, I was speaking again to the “fake officer of Bundeskriminalamt”; he told me that these crimes are punishable by law and that I might be jailed for 30 years and 200,000 euro charges. Yes. That’s when he said that I could be detained, arrested, and jailed for 30 years and pay 300,000 euros; that’s the point that made me tremble to my bones. 

By then, I started getting nervous and began to cry.

He calmed me down and said we would find out, and if it’s not you, we will not do anything; meanwhile, because it’s all under your name, what we will do is confiscate all your possessions such as your passport, residence permit, freeze your bank account, and you are not allowed to leave the country.


But we can do something about it; as I’ve talked to the police officer, we will not charge you yet as we believe this is not you, and you’re a victim of false identity.


Petrified, and all I could say was yes, yes, please.

He kept telling me not to put down the phone because it was illegal or prohibited; I followed his prompt politely. But, as I said, I was scared to death and couldn’t think straight.

At the same time, I kept sending a message to my husband. 

Also, when the “fake BKA officer” asked where I could have probably sent my ids. I asked him if I could ask and call my husband for his assistance, but he instructed me not to tell anyone about this case as it is very confidential. 

Moreover, it might be someone I knew who did this wrongdoing that fell under my name, like my close friends, family, relatives, or even my husband. So, as a result, I couldn’t make a phone call to my husband.

Where does your husband work?

I replied ++++

His voice rosed, and he sounded surprised upon knowing where my husband works.

What time will your husband come home? 

Maybe around 4 or 5, it depends. But he will be home soon. 

And tomorrow, what time will he be going to work?

07:30-8 am.

He then said, okay, tomorrow, I and the police officer in Munich are coming to your house to give you the papers to sign and show the court that you are willing to cooperate with us. But don’t worry; we are not arresting you because we know it’s not you, the real culprit, and you might be a victim of a false identity.

By then, I started to feel okay. 

Giving away all the bank details ( nearly! )

I was very nervous and anxious when waiting for my husband’s reply. He’s the only person I could rely on. 

Soon, the “fake BKA officer said,” now follow my instructions; we will not freeze your account so that the culprits cannot steal your money or your identity from you.

I grabbed my cards, and to my little stupidity that saved my ass, I gave them the account number of my yellow card. Yes, I did. 

He then proceeded

to what the expiration date is. 

and saying, this is very important because we want to protect you 

I gave him the expiration date.

++++++

Then he finally came to ask for my pin code.

Just then, I started to feel like something was off, although still, I couldn’t pull myself all at once to the the dreadful situation I was in.

I pretended I couldn’t hear him. Then, I noticed he sounded cranky and eager to receive my 3-digit code. At the same time, I also received a reply from my husband saying maybe it was a scam. So then I called him ( my husband) in my howling voice.

I ended the call with the “fake BKA officer.”

And the pin code of my card? Yes, I didn’t give my pin code. 

Then I had a call with my husband telling me it was alright and it was a scam. 

The “fake BKA officer” continued to try to keep calling me; I just ignored him. Finally, I gave the number to my husband, and we found out (later) that fake calls were circulating in Germany. 

Scam call in Germany- the number
This was the number they used for calling

It’s a scam call in Germany – but I couldn’t figure it out straight away

The truth is, it sounded natural, perfectly staged, even just by hearing their voice, the background, and everything there was. The “fake BKA officer” was friendly and polite, and the “fake local police officer.” In my mind, they were real people; honestly, I could not tell if they were real people officers. Also, I had no idea how this system or process works (officials investigating a person of interest) in Germany as I’ve never been involved in one. Moreover, my panic and nervousness ate me up; scam calling didn’t cross my mind then. I believe they were professionals; they walked me through their evil scheme smoothly without me realizing it. 

On the other hand, the German language was excellent and perfectly spoken. Although the “fake local police officer” sounded like a distinctive Indian accent. Ultimately, I could never really tell if he was Indian or whatsoever; it was only the accent I am very familiar with as I work with them in our international school. Ultimately, I have nothing against this nation and—justeople. Just a wild guess and not being discriminatory. And I guess they were after my money because they never jumped off t, notutturn. Not right in an instant. 

And why the hell did I even take and entertain the call? 

I was waiting for some essential calls; thus, I thought it was one I couldn’t ignore. Then yea, it happened. I was a wee stupid. You can say that. ( I don’t really care). I hope it doesn’t happen to your friends, relatives, or loved ones. 

And how the f*ck they got my number? 

These days, It’s relatively easy to catch a number; no surprise in that aspect. But how I suspected where they got my number was sometime this month, my husband and I were planning to go to Turkey; therefore, I applied for a visa online. It’s an online Turkish agency, I think they are legit, and I have nothing against them or any agencies of any sort. That’s the only time I remember that I put my details. I’ve been living in Germany for more than two years now, and this was my first time receiving a call like this. It may be a coincidence. But I’ve also read on the police website in Germany that the criminals are based in Turkey. Or what they called call center scam.

Moreover, some schemes include targeting older people accusing them of participating in sweepstakes, and promising them an incorrect price- according to the BKA website.

Scam call in Germany- red flags to look out for and what to do

The reception was quite bad and intermittent. However, the mobile signal throughout Germany is excellent, so it’s nearly impossible for the phone call keeps interrupted or cut; in other words, it is not made inside the country but somewhere else. And it is worth noting that the call signal must be consistent if they are honest BKA officers. 

Except for the official bank officers, no one on the phone will ask how much money you’ve got in your account, how many credit or debit cards you own, or your pin code. 

You can always ask your loved ones to help you in trouble. So when a fake BKA officer says you cannot tell anyone because it’s confidential, like what he said to me, know that this is a scam call. 

Trust your gut. For women like me, it’s easy to feel like prey to predators. So end the call immediately, call the police or someone trustworthy and let them know about the situation.

Receiving the same scam call again

After cutting off the “fake BKA officer” call, he tried to ring me again a few moments later. Of course, I didn’t take it anymore. But guess what? The next day, he redialed my number. And again, as practised, he introduced himself as, an officer someone from BKA and made known that this call would be recorded. This time, my husband was the one who answered, and he replied, sure, can I also record from here? 

He responded yes. 

The conversation almost went on until it was suddenly dropped. Probably from their poor signal. Then he rang again. And I think this time, he intentionally cut it off. 

Then we blocked the numBKA’s

So here’s the number. And helpful information to avoid this evil scheme scam call in Germany. 

I’ve seen this number on official website, which says it’s a scam number ( which I only figured out later). So if you ever come across these digits, don’t answer, ignore, block or report. Know that you can trust the police officials in Germany, which is also one of the main reasons to live because you feel safe here. Furthermore, they usually target older people, especially the countryside, as they’re pretty vulnerable, accommodating, and polite. (like most Germans are)

Scam call in Germany is not a new case

Receiving a scam call in Germany is not a new case. The first scam calls in Germany were reported in February of the same year-2022, according to I am Expat.de. What’s more, the Federal Network Agency has received more than 7.000 of the same complaints and reports, and the scammers apparently targeting people from Austria, France, and Germany.

In an article at Daily Sabah, The Turkish suspect, who owned a company in Germany, was accused of setting up a call center in Istanbul for the purpose of fraud– which is very similar to the scam call that I received. So, I guess, this might be connected.

Meanwhile, my parents-in-law, who are older people, have received a similar call. But scammers had no avail; my parents-in-law didn’t fall for this trick.

On personal thoughts about receiving a scam call in Germany

I wasn’t worried that they could rip off my money from my bank; my worry as I was about to be detained, arrested, and can’t even leave the country to visit my family in the Philippines. That thought alone was unbearable for me. And upon writing this and combing through the memories still gives me chills, but honestly, it’s not a laughable matter. 

Thank God it was only a nightmare.

Hence, I think writing down this disturbing incident is my responsibility. To inform and serve as a warning to all my friends and acquaintances about the scam call in Germany. To my friends in Germany, somewhere in Europe, or whoever is reading this please be careful and don’t fall for this kind of trap. This scam call doesn’t and not only happening in Germany but also all over the world. I have a friend in Japan who said that her mother was once also a victim of this kind of fraudulent scheme, or at least a bit more alarmingly creative.

Unfortunately, if this happens to you, cut the call immediately and report to your nearest local police station. Luckily, the police husband’s in Munich are trustworthy. 

The next day, we heard it on the news early morning.

Just after the call from the “fake BKA officer’s scam call,” my husband made a phone call to the police station and reported it immediately. They asked us to come over and file could report personally, which we did, and gave my statement in full. In addition, my husband translated the scenario into German, as I couldn’t explain it well. 

I am beyond grateful for the help and police officers who entertained my police report.

Disclaimer:

I decided not to disclose some personal information to protect our privacy. Also, I do not mean or intend any harm to any officials or officers of Germany or anyone of any race. I am writing this experience for the sole purpose of informing and giving warnings to vulnerable people like me.

Have you had a similar situation or received a particular scam call in Germany or your area? I hope you shut them down! Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!


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Born, raised, and forever loyal to the Philippines. Catherine is a teacher and a BA in Mass Communication graduate who loves anything child-friendly. She loves writing in her diary every day and is in love with beaches, books, Safari, and Tokyo. Her ultimate dream destinations are Madagascar, Mongolia, and Hawaii. Check out her van camping adventures in Europe at vancampingguide.com.

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