Bonn · Telephone scammers used a particularly perfidious scam to try to get 50,000 Euro from a pensioner couple in Bonn. The couple tells how the scammers went about it.
"Dad, something terrible happened: I killed a woman with my car." With these words of a sobbing voice began the call with which tricksters wanted to get 50,000 Euro from a pensioner couple in Auerberg. A few days later, the woman from Bonn says that this was "one of the most horrible days in my husband's and my life together“.
Annemarie Becker (name changed by the editors) can still remember exactly what happened. At 10:25 a.m., the phone rang and an anonymous caller appeared on the display. Her husband picked up the phone and suddenly heard the tearful and thus distorted voice of a young man. Hans Becker (81) immediately began to tremble. "Where are you, I'll come to you right away," he said. Shortly afterwards, a supposed policeman intervened: "Your son behaved very carelessly today. He ran a red light, hitting a 28-year-old woman. The unborn baby was killed and the woman is in a coma with serious injuries." The seniors were shocked. The police officer continued, "This is a case of involuntary manslaughter and carries a prison sentence of up to eight years."
A supposed lawyer gets involved
Annemarie Becker immediately began to think about the consequences: her son, who is in the process of developing promising professional plans, won’t have a future anymore. But the policeman didn't leave them much time: He asked for all the personal details, which Hans Becker, still in a state of shock, readily gave. Then the policeman wanted to know whether the couple had a cell phone. Annemarie Becker (68) then took over the conversation. In a moment, a lawyer would call on the mobile number, but the landline connection should not be interrupted. "To control us and so that we do not call our son," Becker now knows. Seconds later, the lawyer called with the number suppressed and made a confidential offer: "What I'm proposing now has to stay between us, it's past the magistrate, so to speak." In exchange for bail, he said, he could prevent the son from being remanded in custody. Within an hour, 50,000 Euro would have to be paid, he would collect the money with the son and he would deposit it at the court cashier's office.
"It all seemed strange to me. Especially because we have a lawyer in the family. Surely that's who my stepson would have called first," Becker says. She now demanded to speak with her stepson in person. He was promptly back on the phone, his voice pleading, "I don't want to go to jail, please, please." Becker wanted to know his date of birth, which he was able to answer correctly. Then the now impatient-sounding lawyer quickly took over. He needed the money, he said, when at the bank the couple should not say a word about it. "And I should keep the cell phone turned on during the bank visit. If I had any questions, we could always get in touch with him," Becker says. On the landline the policeman was still on, who pretended to be an officer of the Beuel police station: "And do not hang up this phone either," he stressed.
"Drastic and disgusting case"
Annemarie Becker got more suspicious, she hung up, dialed the 110 and described the process. It must have been immediately clear to the real policeman that it was a case of fraud and he sent a patrol car over. "Immediately after that, I called my stepson's house: Voicemail," Becker says. Then they rang the daughter-in-law. „She got back to me immediately: both were sitting unsuspectingly in the home office.“ A short time later, two police officers also came by. "Even they had not heard of such a drastic and disgusting case in Bonn. The health of the mostly older callers is being played with in the worst possible way. And my husband was actually also on the verge of fainting here," Annemarie Becker recounts. However, the police estimated that there would be nothing more than a report against unknown culprits.
"We were, of course, unspeakably relieved that none of this had really happened, and only in retrospect do you realize further inconsistencies. But the effect of this perfidious scam is so violent at first that you believe it," says Becker. For the couple, the shock is still deep, even days later. "My husband in particular is still preoccupied. It all sounded as if it had really happened."
(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach, Translation: Mareike Graepel)