Germany: Grandchild trick”: 9,789 phone numbers switched off

January 15, 2024

Federal Network Agency also reports mass use for abusive purposes in 2023

The Federal Network Agency ( has switched off a total of 9,789 numbers in 2023 to combat number misuse. This will prevent further use of the numbers for abusive purposes, such as the “grandchildren scam”, it says. According to the authority, it has also imposed billing and collection bans on 1,298 numbers in order to protect those affected from financial losses.

143,061 complaints registered

The Bonn-based Federal Network Agency received a total of 143,061 complaints about number misuse in 2023. In comparison: 150,387 complaints in 2022. In addition to unwanted advertising faxes, harassing call behaviour, chargeable waiting loops and false pop-up error messages, consumers also report fake hotlines and number manipulation.
However, the focus of complaints in 2023 was on unwanted text and messenger messages, according to the report. This area was dominated by so-called “grandchild trick case constellations”. In this context alone, 6,500 phone numbers were switched off. Those affected are contacted by alleged relatives, mostly grandchildren and children, or close acquaintances and defrauded of money by means of invented emergencies.

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