Fraud: Fake call from Europol about misuse of my ID card

Europol call fraud

This is the second time I've received a call that appears to be about stealing personal information. It all started when my iPhone rang and displayed a German cell phone number – in my case +49-171-814860. I answered unsuspectingly and an English-speaking voice answered, which was obviously automated.

I was told something like this: The call is from the Europol police and it's about my German identity card being misused. Now they would want to talk to me. If I agree to this, please press "1" on the telephone keypad.

If you get a call from Europol about your identity card, you have the same scammers on the phone who called me.
If you get a call from Europol about your identity card, you have the same scammers on the phone who called me.

Fake call: query for name and birthday

I was torn as to whether it was a fake call or could be a real call and I pressed 1. Then a real person got in touch who I would assume has an Indian accent. She also spoke in English, but with a heavy accent.

In order to compare the data, I should first give my name and my date of birth. That struck me as odd, and my response was, "If you're the police and my ID card was misused, then you must know who I am, because you called me, after all."

The other party was a bit confused by the answer and after I heard call center background noise for about 10 seconds, I was asked if I could get my ID card to call the number. I then said that I would speak to the police and that I would certainly have my ID card.

The funny fake Europol official then hung up – clear sign: fake call. My number was apparently on the list several times, because less than two days later the same call came again. If I get a third call, I'll just name a few made-up dates and see what the goal of the calls is.

Fake call is a scam attempt

After I got the first call, I wondered what it was and looked it up on the internet. And indeed, there were already indications of this call scam:

The first source is a real Europol information page, warning of the calls in English and pointing out that Europol NEVER calls people. Here is the translation of the text:

Scammers call individuals under the pretense of representing Europol. The scammers tell their victims that they are involved in serious crimes or are the victims of a crime like identity theft. They then ask the victims to provide personal information and make payments while posing as Europol officers.

We also learned that these scammers can make it appear that their calls are from real Europol numbers. This is known as "phone spoofing," which is the use of fake caller ID information to disguise the true source of an incoming call.

This is fake! Europol will never phone citizens about such allegations or ask them to make payments!

We have been made aware of fraud attempts using fake letters claiming to come from various departments of Europol, as well as from the Executive Director, other senior officials and various international law enforcement officials. Emails and social media messages written in multiple languages ​​used the names of senior Europol officials such as Catherine De Bolle, Jean-Philippe Lecouffe and Jürgen Ebner in order to appear reputable and legitimate. Fraud attempts have also been made via forged letters sent by third-party companies pretending to act on Europol's behalf.

Do not be fooled - all these letters are fake. Neither Europol nor its staff would ever approach citizens directly, demanding immediate action or threatening to open a criminal investigation. Europol does not issue fines or contact citizens to request payment.


If you receive a suspicious email or phone call claiming to be from a Europol department or employee, please report the matter to your local or national police immediately. The authorities will then contact Europol if necessary. Europol does not accept reports directly from citizens and cannot investigate individual reports.

To find out where and how to report a crime, please visit the relevant section of our website. To learn how to protect yourself from such scams, check out our Cyber ​​Fraud Prevention Guide.

The second source has been Reddit because someone there has opened this thread and asked if these types of calls are real and how to behave. Here is the translation:

I have just received a call from a German mobile number claiming to be from Europol informing me that my German ID card has been misused for criminal activities. Is that a scam?

I received a call from a German mobile number. It was an automatic voice saying (in English) it was from Europol and asking me to press 1 to speak to someone as my German ID card was being misused. I did that and spoke to a gentleman who also spoke direct English to me. He said that my tax ID was misused, whereupon I asked for his ID, which he gave me: Mr. Steve Johnson with service number GP2314 from the Federal Police Berlin. I was confused as to whether it was my German ID or my tax number and pushed a bit to find out which one it was. The man got a bit aggressive in his voice and said I had to verify myself, give my full name etc. I replied that I had to speak to my lawyer. He got angry and said nobody could help me and I couldn't talk to anyone. I insisted on speaking to my lawyer (I don't actually have one). He said that they would now send a police officer to my home. i said ok Does anyone know if this is a scam or if the police are calling you directly to inform you of any fraudulent activity involving your IDs.

PS: I didn't even give them my full name or any other details.

So I wasn't the first to be called by these scammers. The BKA has already Warned of this scam at the end of 2021:

Citizens in Germany are currently receiving calls – allegedly on behalf of the Federal Criminal Police Office. On the phone, an automated voice will claim that the called party's ID needs to be checked and that you should follow the instructions to facilitate the check. Instructions follow, such as “press 1” to provide ID card information, supposedly to avert a fine.

The calls apparently come from fixed lines in Wiesbaden with the area code 0611. Various phone numbers follow, which often begin with the digits 916. Calls from mobile phone numbers were also reported to the BKA.

If you follow the instructions, you may be unknowingly redirected to premium rate numbers where you incur high charges. In addition, the perpetrators could use your personal data to order goods or commit other crimes on your behalf.

The Federal Criminal Police Office therefore advises all those called:
Don't follow directions, don't get caught up in a conversation - just hang up.
The BKA will never ask you to reveal personal data over the phone.
If you later discover that you have been scammed or that your information has been misused, file a criminal complaint with your local police station.

How do scammers get money?

So now we know for sure that this is a scam, but what exactly the scammers' scam is I was only able to find out later in an article in the "Black Forest messenger” read. Here it is described that one should first be frightened, so that one realizes that a dangerous situation is present. So this works similar to Scareware, where you get bogus error messages displayed on your computer, and then buy a tool that simply does nothing but fix errors that don't exist.

In the case of call fraud, the fraudsters naturally want to get some money, and the way is as simple as it is bold: they convince the people called that they are from Europol and that the misuse of their ID card puts the bank account of the called party at risk. In order to get the money to safety in time, you should transfer it to an account owned by the police until you have set up a new bank account.

Of course, once the money has arrived in the BKA or Europol account, the fraudsters no longer report it. And the betrayed find out much too late that they didn't call the police. Of course, the money can no longer be retrieved. What is transferred is actually lost and remains in the scammers' possession.

The scam is called "social hacking": You basically hack the person so that they do what the fraudster wants them to do: they voluntarily transfer the money to the fraudster's account.
The scam is called “social hacking”: you basically hack the person so that they do what the scammer wants: they voluntarily transfer the money to the scammer’s account.

Are people that gullible?

It makes me wonder if there are still people today who are so naïve and just transfer their hard-earned money to an account that a total stranger (without showing their ID!) names them. Unfortunately, the answer has to be “yes”, otherwise the scammers would no longer do the campaign.

And finally, this “scam” also occurs with real people: the scammers prefer to run to older people and tell them that they are from the police and that there has just been a burglary in the neighborhood. In order to prevent the "burglars" from getting hold of the valuable things, people should put them in a small bag in front of their house at night. The “police” will then pick it up and take it to safety. And yes: This flat scam has often worked. Sad but true!

So: Watch your money, don't transfer it to anyone you don't know and prefer to close one instead Steady membership in support of my blog away. ;-)

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64 Responses to “Scam: Fake call from Europol about misuse of my ID card”

  1. I never answer the phone when an unknown number calls.

    If it's real and important, the person already speaks to my mailbox. This means that 95% of such calls are already settled.

    I randomly search the internet for the number and in most cases it turns out that these numbers are advertising calls or scams.

  2. That also happened to me recently, I got a call, but when the conversation started in English, I hung up right away.
    Unfortunately, there are still too many who fall for con artists

    1. fake number
      + 4917657881XXX
      + 4917651137XXX
      (Sir Apfelot's note: I've redacted the numbers as they may belong to real people unrelated to the scam)

      1. Yes, the number is real, but the person who owns it has nothing to hide. It's so sad that I too have the same problem with my German number.... have. I don't know what to do... Should I change my phone number?

        1. Hi! Since the scammers use a lot of numbers like this and most people are already familiar with the scam, it may only be a matter of time before they stop using it. I would keep the number and wait. The uproar will surely subside.

  3. Had the same call yesterday.
    +491701253012 & +491735303174
    I have filed a complaint against an unknown person with phone numbers. Not that I'm expecting anything, but that's going into the statistics and maybe action is taken more quickly.

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      It would be nice if something could be done about it. But I guess the numbers are just fake or are constantly renewed... Well, but still a good idea with the ad! Maybe it helps.

  4. Same happened to me today twice with these phone numbers:
    +1 917-283-9573 (New York)
    +49 172 836161 XNUMX

  5. Thank you for the information! I received such a call from +49 172 5214292, but did not press 1. Interestingly, my own number also begins with 0172 / 521.

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      Hello Bjorn! It's correct. My number also starts like the one that called me. Must be a psycho trick. :-(

  6. Hi Jens,
    I (70) often receive fake emails from Amazon, Paypal and various banks. Such calls are thankfully very rare. These scams have been around for a number of years now. Since there are usually several laptops/PCs in almost every household and are mostly used every day, including by many in my age group, I am surprised that there are still many who fall for it. Even more so where the media warns about it again and again. There seems to be a lot of levity at play here.

    Best regards

  7. Hello, I just got a call and wasn't aware of the scam before I hung up as I understood I was still confirming my full name, can they use it for something else? Is this a problem?

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      No, I don't think you make any mistakes with the name. You can also get it from the phone book or from Facebook. What they want is the transfer of the money.

  8. I received the exact same call from +49176589272. I just gave my name and he asked me for my ID number and I said I want to speak to a police officer so I will go to the police station. He immediately ended the call. Please be careful….

    1. I've received 11 calls like this today. Always a different number. Every time the AB is discussed in English... I should press 1 for my ID because it was probably misused...
      Pure madness! It sucks!

  9. María Rosal (Fernán‐Núñez, Córdoba, 1961) is a complete writer. She has published children's theatre, has received the Andalusian Critics' Award (2004), the Children's Poetry Award (2007) and the José Hierro National Poetry Award for Carmín rojo sangre (2015). Her poetic work has been translated into English, Italian and Greek.<br/> <br/> This is her second book for children in edebé, after the funniest title, El secreto de las patatas fritas.<br/> <br/> Maria has a very funny sense of humour.

    I received 10 such calls today. This is very annoying :(

  10. Just received a call as well, but hung up on the English tape announcement.
    Interestingly, that was a (of course a fake) phone number from Bonn – Ministry of the Interior.

  11. I experienced exactly the same thing an hour ago... and at first I was SHOCKED and because of my language barrier and the loud traffic noise I was so reassured... He (+49159012021) asked me to give my name and ID card number. After hearing the number, I declined and hung up.

  12. Hello, I also received the call, the number was +49151273456.
    Thank you for your post, which confirms my suspicions.
    I would never have given out personal information, but it's still helpful to get confirmation.
    I'd like to suggest updating the growing numbers at the end of the post so others can see them and the authorities might have a clue when they chime in.

  13. I just received a similar call with a robotic voice telling me to press 1 after the recorded message. I live in Sweden and it has been said that my Swedish ID card is being misused. Since I don't have Swedish citizenship and no such card, I hung up immediately as I suspected fraud. I googled out of interest and came here so thanks for confirming the scam. The phone number was strange: 0513797064
    I hope this information will help other people not to become victims of these criminals.

  14. I received a call today at 13:43 p.m. from +491747678442 telling me that my tax ID (which has not yet been assigned) is being used for money laundering in Berlin. An announcement was recorded and I should press 1.
    Why did I think it was a wrong call?
    1. They spoke in perfect English. I would have expected a German federal police officer to speak in German. (Or that at least the recorded message is in German)
    2. I don't have a tax ID yet because I only arrived in Germany 14 days ago.
    3. When I told them that I'm new in Germany and don't have a tax ID yet, they said that maybe this number has already been given to someone else who has used it for this purpose.

    Information I gave them (that I shouldn't have given)
    1. My name
    2. Where I work
    3. And where I got my phone number from

    I provided this information because I didn't realize these are common scam calls. Also, I'm new to Germany, so I didn't immediately decline the call. But I stayed calm because I knew that I don't have a tax number yet and it can't be used for money laundering in Berlin.

    After knowing that I am new in Germany they said that maybe it was someone else who used this number (I was confused if they call me or this number) and that you don't have to worry. If something happens, the government will take care of it.

    And as I was writing this message, I received the call again. Strange. Now with +491747675134

  15. Hello, thank you for your article. I received a call from “Europol” at 10:34 am on number +49159011446 claiming that my German ID was being used for scams etc. The slight Indian accent of the computer voice made me suspicious. After I didn't answer they hung up.

  16. I just received the same call Euopol, ID card used for criminal activities. +4915349439899 They asked for your name and zip code. Then they started talking nonsense about cocaine and bank accounts across Europe. I said I would contact the police here, they said they hadn't shared my file with the local police yet...then asked me to go ahead with someone else, a lawyer. I said I could solve the problem myself with the police and my own lawyers, then he ended the call.

  17. I have received 2 calls/day for the past month.
    I've tried to block the number but my display keeps showing a different number:
    +49151 248 337;
    +49151 241 184;
    +49151 242 030;
    +49151 241 998;
    +49151 242 855; etc…
    Blocking the number doesn't work in my case...

  18. Such a brazen ploy requires wide dispersal to find the few people who are still naïve enough to fall for it.

    I'm now already on the 3rd call and due to the poor quality of the recorded message I only now understood what they wanted from me. “Funny” I even lost my ID card 2 weeks ago.

    Even if this is often seen by some as a touch of neglect of telephone etiquette, I no longer even answer by name, but only with a brief hello.

    1. With most Android smartphones you can block number ranges using wildcards.
      In your case, you can add the following 3 numbers in the dialer under Settings > Block:

      +49151 241*
      +49151 242*
      +49151 248*

  19. Received a call today from +49151178876 using the same Europol scam.
    The “police officer” hung up after I asked why they ask my name when they have my ID…

  20. Hi,
    just got a call today with the automatic announcement in english.
    I hung up and the number was (editor's note: numbers removed as they are fake anyway).
    That was strange to me and then in the search I found the thread here and some others also the reddit (probably the same) that was mentioned above.
    The really strange thing is that I've only had my current number for 2 months.

  21. Received five such calls during the day today. All numbers are the same as my own cell phone number.
    Thank you for sharing the information here.

  22. Received 3 calls today
    +49 188 93044202 XNUMX
    +49 131 94619608 XNUMX
    and an unknown number but same message

  23. I had 2 calls from today
    (Editor's note: numbers removed as they are fake anyway)
    As you said, an English speaking robot from “Europol”. My ID was used for fraudulent activity, press 1 for more information. I didn't press 1, I hung up. I wonder where they got my number from.

  24. I received such a call today at 09:03. It was an electronic tape announcement. As I suspected a scam I hung up immediately. I only understood Europol and googled it immediately. I immediately came across current reports, including this forum. The phone number XXXXXXX (Munich) did not yield any plausible results when researching the internet. I blocked the number immediately. LG

  25. I've had calls like this since this morning... first number blocked... then again with another number and it's been like that all the time. Since I need my cell phone for work, it is unfortunately not possible to switch it off. I'm completely annoyed.

  26. Same problem with me. I received the exact same call from “Europol” today: [number removed]. Thank you for sharing the information and experience here.

  27. Hello, I received the same call today but I made a big mistake. My ID is actually missing, so I pressed 1. Then I gave my full name. After they said that it is the federal police, I understood that it is a scam, especially when it comes to drugs with the others :(

    If they asked for any dates I would hang up...that was the plan. From that point on, I thought twice before each answer... And (stupidly) gave very short yes-no answers....

    They told me they created a case for me and gave me the case id and ask me to repeat it... And I repeated it :( And the call ends immediately...

    What can you do with it
    * I say my full name
    * I say “FXXXXXX”

  28. Made a mistake today and printed 1. I asked what it was about I got a call from the number, didn't give any correct information. But it appeared that he tried to extend the call to a minute and then hung up. As a foreigner, I don't know what to do now.

    1. Hello Julia! The scammers try to convince you that you are transferring your money to a "secure account". If you just pressed 1 and the caller couldn't convince you to screen share your online banking with them, then don't worry.

  29. I just received an identical call from “Europol”. I hung up after the words "German identity" because I knew it was a scam. The number the call came from was [number removed].

    I've blocked them on my phone but I'm sure they have a variety of other numbers to call from...

  30. Hanging up is exactly wrong. It's about keeping the scammers busy for as long as possible and thus preventing them from cheating on Grandma Erna. The more people participate, the worse the working time/wage ratio for the fraudsters, until at some point it no longer pays off.
    – When a call comes in, fake a conversation that is as long as possible.
    – If you are asked to send something by email (e.g. a copy of an ID card or similar), rename any useless file to .ZIP and send it.
    – Always make a fool of yourself and do it slowly
    – Happy to get some instructions from the scammer wrong and then repeat (e.g. file corrupted so resend)

    I don't really have time for games, but I'll treat myself to this fun ;)

    1. Hi! Yes, of course you can do that if you have the time. The idiots always catch me when I'm about to do something else. That's why I spend as little time as possible with the idiots.

  31. Knüppel-Dudas, Hans-Jürgen

    Hans Jürgen
    I received 4 of these calls between 10:13 am and 14:13 pm today; the following German numbers:
    1523753* (numbers made unrecognizable)

  32. Something like that happened to me today. I hung up after the sentence (in English) "if you want more information"...I'm still thinking- if the authorities want something from me then the safest way is to send me a registered letter or me with an appropriate ID to visit at home and by no means inform by telephone - and certainly not in English! Despite that, I immediately checked whether my ID was still there :-)

    1. I've now received three calls from different German cell phone numbers (+49 176 xxx). Since they spoke to the tape once, I think it's the same scam (german ID card, please press 1
      So thanks for the post here, which confirms my spam suspicion...

  33. hello all,
    Today I was target on this scammer also, I feak out so much. I give my name and last name witch was big mistake, after that i think to myself if she knows who i am why she is asking me for my personal information, she said that my ID was use for car renting in berlin, fraud, bank skams, drugs, and many many other stuff. Also the “fake officer” asked me did i drive a car, did i work, do i cooperate to fix this. i said yes but first i will go to police and i will talk with my lawyer, then she become rude, too much and hang the phone on me. i was so stressed and imdietly i go to police station to report this, the officer told me that its noting to worry about, and that if she called again to go again to the police and try to find this scammers

  34. I just got a call like that and I want to add that the scammers are already a step further, the announcement was German, not English, and they even named a country where my German ID card was misused (Portugal ). Probably all to be more believable.
    I hung up immediately after the announcement and didn't press 1 as requested.
    I hope more people find out about it and don't become victims.

  35. Christian Stadler

    I just got this call for the third time on the same day. I always cut off English-speaking callers immediately. It's good that this is explained in detail here. That immediately confirmed my suspicion that something was wrong.

  36. Hello everyone ! Received the described call today! So be careful with the following phone number: [Number removed because it is not one of the scammers anyway]
    Haven't had any personal contact yet!

    All the best!

  37. María Rosal (Fernán‐Núñez, Córdoba, 1961) is a complete writer. She has published children's theatre, has received the Andalusian Critics' Award (2004), the Children's Poetry Award (2007) and the José Hierro National Poetry Award for Carmín rojo sangre (2015). Her poetic work has been translated into English, Italian and Greek.<br/> <br/> This is her second book for children in edebé, after the funniest title, El secreto de las patatas fritas.<br/> <br/> Maria has a very funny sense of humour.

    Hello, got the same call today. I hung up first but was called again afterwards and the scammer was aggressive asking me why I hung up and saying the call is being recorded etc.

    Then he asked me for my name, date of birth and ID number and unfortunately I passed it on, then he also said something, but I didn't understand and said that I didn't understand him and then he hung up.

    Now I'm scared about my data. What can he do with my ID number. Should I make an ad?

    1. Hello Maria! I wouldn't worry too much. The main starting point of them is that they persuade you that your money in your account is no longer safe and you transfer it to their account. As long as you don't do that, the data may be annoying, but probably not a broken leg. You can report it, but I'm afraid it won't do much.

  38. I got call today from below number for the reason (ID misused)
    [numbers removed because they might belong to uninvolved people. Scammers can fake any number…]

  39. Hey, thank you for this post. Same thing happened to me...I would really like to know if anyone can track them down or remove my number from their list...

  40. Hello, I get these calls too. It's super annoying because 2 years ago I changed my phone number and got one that must have been used by someone else before.

    If you receive calls on a German cell phone or landline phone, you can report them to the Federal Network Agency. If they have enough data with timestamps and source phone numbers, maybe they can create a better case.

    I believe the correct category would be “Harassment Call Attempts” → “Cold Call Complaint” and the link to the form is this:

  41. Hello Jens, dear community,
    Called this morning from Belgian mobile number: +32 472 2970…
    English vending machine :-) talks about misuse of my ID card number, hung up immediately and blocked the number. Can this be forwarded to an official body?
    LG Rudi

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