SHARE
COPY LINK

POLICE

Fake granddaughter rips off couple in huge fraud

An elderly Zurich husband and wife were swindled out of 400,000 francs by a woman pretending to be their granddaughter in one of the largest such scams on record in Switzerland, police said on Monday.

Fake granddaughter rips off couple in huge fraud

The couple, in their 70s, received a call in February from a woman posing as their granddaughter and claiming she was in financial difficulty, Zurich police said in a statement.

Over several weeks, the woman convinced the couple to hand over a total of 400,000 francs ($422,000) to a friend of hers, police said.

The couple did not realise they had been duped until mid-March, when they contacted their real granddaughter to ask why they hadn't heard back from her in a while, only to find out she had never asked them for any money.

The couple then reported the scam to the police who are now investigating the case.

"This is certainly the biggest such case on record in Zurich, and perhaps in Switzerland," Zurich police spokeswoman Judith Hödl told AFP.

She said these types of grandparent scams or emergency scams —  where someone posing as family pretends to be in desperate need of money to trick elderly people out of their savings — have long been a problem in the Swiss financial capital.

"There were more of these cases ten years ago," she said.

"The situation has improved some since we have tried to warn people of the danger," she said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

ZURICH

‘3,000 francs a month?’: Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

On Sunday September 25th, while the Swiss will decide on three national issues in a national referendum, Zurich voters will weigh in on a pilot project involving the recurring issue of universal basic income.

'3,000 francs a month?': Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

The idea of the government handing out a set amount of money to its citizens is not a novel concept in Switzerland: in 2016, a referendum made Switzerland the first country in the world to vote at national level on this issue.

But 76.9 percent of voters rejected this initiative because they could not see how it could be funded without increasing taxes.

Some left-leaning districts in Zurich, however, voted in favour of the universal basic income (UBI), and while nothing came of it on the national level at the time, the city will re-vote on this issue on Sunday.

READ MORE: Zurich to roll out universal basic income pilot project

While the exact details are still muddy, voters will decide whether to offer “free” money on monthly basis to 500 residents chosen for the pilot project.

Though the amount is not yet determined, it could likely be between 2,500 and 3,000 francs a month.

Contrary to what had been proposed at the federal level in 2016, the part paid by the city government will vary according to income from work.

For the political left, which launched the proposal, UBI “represents a possible answer to current challenges such as automation, poverty and the climate crisis”, the group says on its website.

Among the opponents, the municipal council “believes that paid work is the most important element to ensure the livelihood of individuals and at the same time create social prosperity”.

Does this proposal have a chance of success?

Based on the outcome of the national vote, probably not.

On a municipal level too, such initiatives have already failed in Bern and Lucerne.

However, as Swiss media points out, “Zurich is very left”, so perhaps UBI can get more of a boost there.

As far as the national referendum on September 25th is concerned, this article explains what issues will be voted on:

Pensions, farming and tax: What issues will the Swiss vote on this month?
 

SHOW COMMENTS