F.For Claus Doetsch, the man who called him on the landline at nine o’clock in the morning on April 16 was almost an old acquaintance: again a commissioner who wanted to protect his property from nasty burglars. Only a few weeks earlier a commissioner had called and reported about gangs who were after his money. Doetsch, who lives in Nuremberg, suspected a fraudster even then: “You read about these cases in the newspaper every day.” So he asked the inspector for a callback number – the man hung up. But this time Doetsch wanted to play along and pretend to be an insecure victim. “I thought maybe I’ll be able to take up the conversation and get the police over there. You have to put an end to these fraudsters. “
The dialogue with the perpetrator, which Claus Doetsch finally took up in large part and which is reproduced here in excerpts, begins with the classic opening of the fake police officers: A man introduced himself as the detective of the criminal investigation department, addresses Claus Doetsch by name and asks whether the address he then gives is correct. Doetsch affirms both. Obtaining this information is comparatively easy for the fraudsters: The perpetrators, who for years have mostly deprived senior citizens of their savings, jewelry or coins, usually look for the telephone numbers and addresses of their potential victims from telephone directories – old-sounding first names are decisive. As a preventive measure, simply deleting the entry from the phone book is advisable, but no guarantee that you will not be called by fraudsters. Because according to the police, the perpetrators also use phone books that are decades old.
The fraudster tells Doetsch the following story: “Two Eastern Europeans” were recently arrested and a note with “your name and address” was found on them, as well as a “note on a locker”. Doetsch answered yes to the question of whether he had a locker – as well as to the question of whether it also contained “Krugerrand coins” and “gold bars”. The wrong police officer then says that he will now hand over the information to the “chief inspector”.
From now on, Doetsch has recorded the conversation on his cell phone. The man who is now on the line introduces himself as “Mr. Grammbach”, the “responsible operations manager of the K4”. Doetsch is excited, says that he is now “really shocked that something like this is going to happen”. The commissioner informs him that he has just come out of the interrogation of “these perpetrators”, meaning the Eastern Europeans.
“There is an urgent need for action”
“Commissioner 1”: I was able to bring some new knowledge with me, because apparently the two here intend to make a comprehensive confession.
Doetsch: Okay, yes. (…) You are Mr. Grammbach, did you say Mr. Grammbach?
“Commissioner 1”: Correct. Grammbach, right. Nevertheless, there is a lot that we have already learned from it all. In relation to your name, they are talking about a locker in which there should be, uh, several gold coins, i.e. a large number of gold coins, Krugerrand coins – and – a small amount of cash. Is that even true, Mr. Doetsch?