The story could be true, but it is made up: A message comes to mom and dad via SMS. Their child has a new cell phone number, which the parents should save. Experts warn against this scam. Those who reply to the new number are, for example, told a story about an emergency and are supposed to transfer money. Usually it is about 1000 to 3000 euros. They end up in the accounts of criminals.
In 2022, fraud via Messenger caused damage in the double-digit millions nationwide, reports the Federal Criminal Police Office. Its head spoke of more than 20 million euros. The damage could become even greater. Because the crooks are increasingly trying to trick people with their fake messages. The State Office of Criminal Investigation of Baden-Württemberg assumes that there will be more than 10,000 cases by the fall of this year alone—already significantly more than in the whole of last year with more than 8600 cases.
As the consumer center reports, the crooks are constantly inventing and sending out new stories—often with spelling errors. Sometimes they demand allegedly unpaid customs duties. Sometimes a supposedly genuine parcel service sends a message. Or customers of banks and savings banks are asked to update apps. This method is called smishing (from SMS and phishing = fishing) because the criminals use it to harvest data, among other things.
What should people do if they receive suspicious messages? Be suspicious and never tap on a link, advises the consumer advice center. In addition, do not enter any online banking data or install a new app. Often, the attempted fraud can be prevented by calling the child or the bank. If those affected have already passed on data on their credit card, this card should be blocked immediately.
Facts about fake text messages, how to deal with them and what to do in the event of a claim are provided by the consumer advice center at:
Examples of fake SMS, where senders get the numbers from and how such SMS can be prevented can be found at:
To the trick with the “Hello mummy, hello daddy” SMS:
Special advice on alleged customs charges is provided by the German Federal Network Agency:
Betrüger wollen durch Fake SMS, E-Mails oder Anrufe Geld. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Linda Kreuzer.