Erfurt (dpa/th) – Tricksters cheated their victims in Thuringia by almost 4.5 million euros last year. The damage caused by the fraud via WhatsApp was particularly high, as the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) told the German Press Agency. Since February 2022, perpetrators have made massive attempts to use the Thuringian messenger service to arrange for transfers to be made.

The scammers approach the victims as allegedly close relatives and claim to have a new number because their cell phone is broken or lost. They then ask for several urgent referrals for the alleged relative.

Last year, the police recorded a total of 5,314 cases in Thuringia under the phenomenon of telephone fraud, almost twice as many as in 2021 (2,801 cases). More than 1,850 of these cases were attributable to WhatsApp fraud last year.