Multiple arrests in investigation into bank helpdesk fraud

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East Brabant – The police arrested seven men on Monday on suspicion of bank help desk fraud. The suspects are said to have defrauded many people of more than 125,000 euros in East Brabant alone. Jewelry was also stolen. The suspects come from Vlissingen, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Gouda and Tilburg and are between 17 and 24 years old. Multiple arrests cannot be ruled out.

The police started the investigation at the end of 2023 when an observant bank warned the police that a possible scam was underway in Helmond. At that moment there was a man in someone’s house who pretended to be an employee of a bank. He was already trying to withdraw money from the victim’s account. Prior to his arrival, the victim had already been called by a so-called helpdesk employee of a bank who indicated that there were problems with the bank accounts of the 75-year-old victim and that immediate action was needed. The victim then had to enter her PIN code on a PIN machine to solve the “problems”. But she did not know that payments were being made and that the account was being emptied.

As a by-catch, the so-called helpdesk employee also tried to steal expensive jewelry with the promise that he would store it safely. Because the bank responded so quickly, the payment was stopped and one of the suspects was arrested red-handed.

Many victims

The method is said to have been applied by the group in various places in the country. In the East Brabant unit alone, more than 40 reports and several fraud attempts can probably be linked to the group. The group may also have been active in Belgium. We suspect that there was a clear division of functions within the group, such as a driver, a recruiter, several callers and people who divided the loot among various accounts.

Large amounts of cash were found in the suspects’ homes and seized. Various valuable vehicles and luxury goods that may have been purchased with criminal money have also been confiscated.

Recruiting minors

We suspect that the suspects often recruited vulnerable, underage boys to work as errand boys for them. They often provided a telephone and a PIN machine and while the suspect was at the door, the “help desk” continued to keep the victim on the line. If the PIN machine supposedly did not cooperate, they took the PIN card and PIN code with them and were instructed to make the PIN payment.

Don’t fall for it

  • Your bank will never send an employee to your home to collect your bank card, internet banking login device, PIN codes or jewelry.
  • Your bank never asks on the phone or in a text message to transfer money to other accounts, even in emergencies.
  • Your bank will never ask you to send your bank card or internet banking login device by post, not even via their website.
  • Your bank never asks for your PIN numbers, passwords or other security codes on the phone or in text messages.
  • Your bank never asks for access to your computer or smartphone or to install software or apps on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

What can I do if I fall for it? Call your bank immediately and follow the bank employee’s instructions. Always report! Call 0900-8844 or via the police website.

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