Scammers claiming to come from the ‘supreme court’ or police have managed to steal at least €1.7 million from their victims in less than a year’s time, according to figures from the Fraud Helpdesk.
The phone calls are made in English and the caller tells the victim they have to hand over information and money because, for example, their BSN number has been implicated in a crime.
The true figure is likely to be far higher because the help desk estimates only one in 10 victims ever reports the crime. Currently, the desk is receiving some 20 reports of the scam a day, broadcaster NOS reported.
The scam has been active since last August but there was a new surge in the first few months of this year.
Callers hear a recording in heavily accented English which asks them to press a number. They are then put through to a person who informs them their BSN social security number was being misused, that there was an arrest warrant against them or that they are suspected of criminal activities such as drug dealing or money laundering.
One victim told Dutch News in detail how she had been scammed earlier this year. ‘‘A guy introduced himself as Dave. He told me that the police raided a house and found – I don’t even know how many kilograms – but a lot of cocaine,’ she said.
‘And he said they investigated this crime and a bunch of other fraud-related crimes and everything linked back to my BSN number.’ ‘I just immediately started crying. But Dave was so calm and friendly – so reassuring that it was going to be ok.’
Dutch News has asked the Fraud Help Desk if it appears that foreigners are being particularly targeted.
The police and public prosecution department were unable to tell NOS how many cases are actively being investigated.
The police told Dutch News in March there are no ongoing investigations into the reports. ‘The only way we’d follow up is if there are concrete grounds to initiate an investigation to find the perpetrators,’ a police spokesman said at the time.
If you get a call from anyone claiming they are from the national police or the Dutch supreme court, hang up immediately and report the crime to the FraudeHelpDesk.
If you have been a victim of this scam, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in complete confidence.
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