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Cyber Bites

Sham Auto Accident calls targeting Seniors

“Hello, this is the police. Your granddaughter has been involved in an auto accident. She was driving and hit a pedestrian. In order to keep her from being held we need you to post five hundred dollars. We need to have this bail within the next 60 minutes to keep her from being processed. We will send a courier to your location to pick up the money.”

Europol and local authorities arrested seventy suspects for running an international phone scam targeting seniors. They seized $175,000 in cash, gold bars and gold coins and overall losses are estimated to greater than $5 million.

Those sent to collect the money were unwitting accomplices hired through online job platforms.

From Europol:

“Crime targeting elderly citizens through scam calls, where individuals impersonate representatives of police and judicial authorities, poses a grave danger, and has a profound impact on the victims. Apart from the often-irrecoverable financial damage, it can cause emotional distress and a loss of trust in legitimate authorities.”

Takeaways:

  • Don’t share personal or financial information with unknown or unexpected callers

  • If someone is saying they are referencing a relative, check via another way—by calling them back on their own phone or other means to verify it is really them.

  • Keep in mind that law enforcement and other officials will never ask for money or payments over the telephone or in person by showing up at your door.

  • If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately and tell the police.

Sources: Europol, Malwarebytes


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