German bank teller gets suspicious, helps police nail 39 fraudsters

Fraudsters would fake police calls and engage in persuasive investment fraud and romance scams.

In December 2023, a bank customer in Freiburg, Germany, asked a bank teller if they could withdraw €100,000 in cash. The suspicious bank teller soon learned that the customer had fallen victim to a ‘fake police officer scam.’ After looking into the case, law enforcement arrested the scammers and started a wider investigation into the suspected fraud ring.

The large-scale investigation, dubbed Pandora, has already identified 39 suspects. Located in different countries throughout Europe, the fraudsters operated scam call centers and often posed as close relatives, bank employees, customer service agents, and police officers with fake promises of lottery winnings, debt collection demands, and investment opportunities.

Inside a scam call center
Inside a scam call center. By Europol

“Over 60 German law enforcement officers, supported by hundreds of their colleagues in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Lebanon, as well as Europol specialists, swarmed dozens of residential and business premises,” Europol noted.

A dozen scam call centers were taken down, 21 people were arrested, and law enforcement seized “extensive evidence,” including documents, cash, and assets amounting to €1 million. Law enforcement hopes that the findings will help them track down other possible call centers and fraudsters connected to the case.

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