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Greek police break up a criminal network of Bulgarian phone scammers

26 January 2016 / 18:01:52  GRReporter
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Numerous cases of phone scams on the elderly were registered in the second half of 2015 across the country, in which unknown persons tried to steal money from elderly people, following a specific scheme.

The authorities detained 15 people during this period, namely 12 Bulgarian and 3 Greek nationals, and in the meantime identified another 13 Bulgarians and 1 Cypriot with Bulgarian citizenship, launching pre-trial proceedings against them.

Apparently being preliminarily aware of the marital status of the potential victims, the perpetrators call them, pretending to be doctors sometimes, or lawyers or policemen, and argue that a close relative of the victim, usually their child, has caused a road accident resulting in a seriously injured or killed person, usually a child.

Furthermore, they argue that in order for the relative to avoid being detained and be exempt from future criminal consequences, a large sum of money should be paid, which is different in each case, depending on the victim’s degree of responsiveness and trustfulness.

To be more convincing, their other accomplices intervene in the phone call, pretending to be the close relatives and asking for help, crying, thereby exerting enormous psychological pressure on the victims.

Once the victims are convinced the scammers appear at their house to take the money or make an appointment, determining the time and the place, usually near the house of the victim.

To prevent such cases the Greek police advise citizens of the following:

* To be especially cautious whenever strangers try to convince them on the phone to give them money under the pretext that their close relative has caused a car accident.

* To call the phone of the close relative in question to determine the authenticity of what they have been told. To talk to the relative immediately, from another telephone if possible, to avoid the probability of the line being still open from the scammers who have not yet hung up.

* Always to keep at hand the telephone numbers of the services that they should call in case of need (police, fire, ambulance, relatives, etc.).

* Not to succumb to exhortations for meetings.

* Not to believe the lies, even if speaking with someone to whom the scammers have handed out the phone during the phone conversation and who is pretending to be a relative.

* In no case should they show that they intend to give money.

* To inform the people of their closer and wider environment, including relatives, friends and social circle, and especially other elder people, on this criminal activity, and to advise them what to do to avoid becoming a victim of scammers.

* To try to memorize how the perpetrators look, if they establish contact with them, and possibly the details of the vehicles used by them (registration plate, car make and colour, etc.) to support the work of the police.

The police also want citizens to inform them immediately of any such case of such criminal acts.

Citizens can turn to the authorities at the local police station and can call the emergency phone number 100 for an immediate police intervention or send a free sms to the same number.

The section Citizens Guide/Tips on the website of the Greek police (www.hellenicpolice.gr) provides more specific safety tips on how the elderly can avoid such scams.

Tags: Phone scammersElderlyGreek police
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