Crime For Members

How to avoid the 'police' phone scam in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
How to avoid the 'police' phone scam in Switzerland
Ignore suspicious calls asking for personal information. Photo: Pixabay

The Swiss government has issued a warning about an increasing number of fake calls purporting to be from police. But there are ways to avoid this scam.


Switzerland's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has been monitoring the phenomenon of fake calls from alleged police authorities for nine months now.

But in the last three weeks, reports of this scam have almost tripled, the NCSC said, indicating just how widespread it is.

What is this about?

The scam begins with a call coming, allegedly, from police or another Swiss authority.

A voice, which the NCSC describes as ‘robotic’, informs the person who answers the call that their personal banking data is involved in criminal activities, or makes a similar alarming (but false) claim.

According to the NCSC, “it is not a person who calls, but a software The machine randomly tries Swiss phone numbers throughout the day. If the number is invalid, it simply moves on to the next one.”

“By using this software, the number of calls that can be made is virtually unlimited. It could go through practically all the phone numbers in Switzerland in a day,” the Centre adds.

After raising alarm about your bank account, the fake ‘policeman’ will urge you to “press 1” to be put in touch with a human being and obtain more information.

If you do this and, worse yet, divulge your personal data to the caller, you risk having your computer and credit card hacked.


What should you do (and not do) if you get this call?

The most obvious answer is to immediately hang up because, as the NCSC explains, “real police never play recorded phone messages. They also never ask for money or sensitive personal data over the phone."

To that end, the Centre recommends that anyone receiving this call: 

  • Should hang up as soon as you hear the recorded message
  • Not press 1, or any other numbers, during the telephone conversation
  • Not get drawn into a conversation.
  • Never grant access to your computer, not even via remote maintenance software.
  • Never reveal prepaid card activation codes.


A fake tax refund

While the ‘police scam’ is the latest attempt at extortion reported to the NCSC, it is far from a unique case.

Scores of them are reported to the authorities each year, including the one reported earlier in 2024.

It involved phishing emails about alleged tax refund entitlements.

However, the link in the email leads to a phishing page. 

Here too, authorities advise to ignore these emails, not click on the link, and not enter any personal data on the phishing page.

READ ALSO : The common scams foreigners in Switzerland need to be aware of


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