English-language scammers posing as Dutch authorities stole €1.7 million
In less than a year, a scam involving pre-recorded English-languaged phone calls from the “ministry of justice” has resulted in at least 1.7 million euros in damage, NOS reports based on figures from the Fraud Helpdesk.
Scammers pose as the Dutch authorities and say that the victim’s citizens registration number appears in a drug case. The scammers say they have to “secure” the victim’s money in order to “prove” that they are not involved in the case.
According to the Fraud Helpdesk, the actual amount of damages is almost certainly much higher. Previous research by the agency showed that only about 10 percent of fraud victims go to the authorities.
The Fraud Helpdesk received the first resort of this specific working method in September last year. Reports dip and rise. Last week, the helpdesk received an average of 20 per day. The scammers use the same method with minor variations, Fraud Helpdesk spokesperson Tanya Wijngaarde said to NOS. They use spoofing to clone a Dutch number, for example, from a police station or the Supreme Court. They intimidate victims by telling them they’re in a criminal investigation and then try to gain trust by offering to help.
“It all starts with a recording, then you get someone on the phone,” Wijngaarde said. “They do have some variations in the conversation.” In some cases, the scammers also want to install software on the victim’s devices so they can track their doings as part of the investigation to prove their innocence. The scammers also seem to be using data from data breaches to create the impression that they are legit.
The Fraud Helpdesk can’t say who is behind this scam. “It is, of course, remarkable that they speak English with a particular accent. And on national holidays in India, we do not receive any notifications. That suggests that it comes from there,” Wijngaarde said.