26 July 2022, by William Nehra

A relatively recent telephone fraud has seen scammers make off with at least 1,7 million euros in less than a year. Authorities believe that the real figure could be far higher.

The Dutch Supreme Court Scam

A scam that has been active since August 2021 has ended up costing victims in the Netherlands 1,7 million euros at least. Victims of the scam are targeted through their mobile phones, in which the caller asks them to press a number. They are then put through to the scammer, who informs them that they are from the police or Supreme Court and that their BSN number has been misused, resulting in an arrest warrant for suspected criminal activities or money laundering. The scammers then ask victims to hand over money.

One victim told reporters how she got scammed earlier this year. ‘‘A guy introduced himself as Dave. He told me that the police raided a house and found – I don’t even know how many kilograms – but a lot of cocaine,” the victim said. “He said they investigated this crime and a bunch of other fraud-related crimes and everything linked back to my BSN number. I just immediately started crying. But Dave was so calm and friendly – so reassuring that it was going to be okay.”

The scammers have mostly been targeting foreigners and expats in the Netherlands who speak English, and often speak to their victims in English with heavy European accents.

Authorities believe more victims have fallen for scam

Police believe that scammers using this type of scam have stolen a lot more than 1,7 million euros. Unfortunately, the true figure is hard to discern as only about one in 10 people report the scam after having fallen victim to it.

The scam has been active since last August, but the number of calls has picked up over the past few months. The Fraud Helpdesk is currently receiving around 20 reports a day. A total of 224 people have reported giving money to scammers, while nearly 18.000 people have received calls.

Dutch police have told reporters that there are no ongoing investigations into the calls. ‘The only way we’d follow up is if there are concrete grounds to initiate an investigation to find the perpetrators,’ said a police spokesperson.

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