Status: 30.09.2023, 19:00 p.m.
By: Stella Henrich
The German pension insurance warns of tricksters, in whose case older people could fall. How seniors can best protect themselves from this.
Bremen – "The German pension insurance does not send SMS to its customers," the authority says on its website, warning at the same time against tricksters. Apparently, the crooks no longer disguise themselves as supposed employees and contact their victims by phone. The thieves keep up with the times, they also use the many ways of digital communication with pensioners.
After all, many seniors are far from being part of the scrap heap. Many of them use the Internet, own smartphones and tablets and can keep up with the new technologies quite well. Since the German Pension Insurance (DRV) has been digital, this offer has also been used. Since 30 June, the DRV pension has been online. With just a few clicks, citizens can register there online with their identity card, enter their personal data and then receive an overview of their pension without the hassle of paperwork. The overview can be forwarded to your own mailbox by e-mail.
"Reimbursement from pension insurance" is a trick scam
The DRV's step into the digital age apparently also has its downside. Recently, according to the DRV, a pensioner received a text message from a number unknown to her. "In this letter, she was asked to verify herself via a link in order to receive a refund from the pension insurance. The word 'pension application' was included in the link," the authority now warns of the trickery. This is because employees never contact customers via SMS.
Protect yourself from tricksters – The DRV's tip
The German Pension Insurance never asks its customers to make a payment over the phone. This is always done in writing. Make sure that the claim is correct by calling back to the DRV. To do this, do not use the number shown on the display or the callback button, but the free service telephone number: 0800 1000 4800.
No one should "disclose their personal data, such as bank details, or make a transfer at home or abroad on the basis of fictitious SMS," according to the urgent warning on the DRV website. In cases of doubt, insured persons and pensioners could contact the free service number of the German Pension Insurance.
German pension insurance warns - callers ask for account data by phone
Some perpetrators also try to spy on the personal data of insured persons and pensioners. For example, according to the DRV, they ask for account data by telephone because a computer has allegedly failed or because overpaid pension contributions are to be transferred back. But here, too, the authority warns. Employees only contact insured persons by telephone in exceptional cases, for example "if you have just submitted an application for account clarification or a pension application" and your telephone number is given in it for queries. How best to protect yourself from shock calls.
The German pension insurance warns of tricksters, in whose case older people could fall. How seniors can best protect themselves from this. © IMAGO/Zoonar.com/DAVID HERRAEZ CALZADA
But the fraudsters also try to do it by post. The letters were equipped with the logo of the pension insurance and, according to the DRV, looked deceptively real. The recipient of the letter should now call a telephone number mentioned in the letter and is given a bank account to which he should transfer the "outstanding amount". In this case, too, the authority advises caution. If the document does not contain a pension insurance number, "contact us directly". Because "in our letters it is always contained". The DRV has summarised further scams in its new brochure "Beware of trick fraud" for download.
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Consumer advocates have also been warning against false SMS for some time
The NRW consumer advice centre also repeatedly warns against fraud attempts – via SMS or WhatsApp to lure gullible people into the trap. "Be careful if you receive a text message claiming to be from your bank or the tax office." Internet addresses are displayed in the messages, "some of which look as if they were actually pages of the banks mentioned". Just recently, consumer advocates called for caution against fraudulent e-mails from Commerzbank.
- Here's how consumers can prevent scam SMS:
- Smartphones and security apps offer spam filters. This allows consumers to reduce the number of incoming text messages.
- Consumers can specify in the settings of many messaging apps that only SMS are received from those numbers that they have stored in the contacts.
- Consumers should only provide their mobile phone number if absolutely necessary.
- In the worst case, the only thing that helps is to change the phone number.
- Source: Verbraucherzentrale NRW
Criminals also tried to lure their victims to dubious websites with made-up stories of an alleged tax refund. But here, too, the following applies: "The tax office does not send SMS to tax assessments," according to the consumer advocates. Anyone who nevertheless falls into the network of fraudsters can seek help from the portal Polizei-Beratung.de or the victim protection association Weisser-Ring.de on the Internet. Also on the website of the association Deutsche Seniorenliga e.V., those affected are advised in the areas of "being there digitally" and "data security and data theft". (sthe)