Crimes skyrocket because of dating platform
Dhe number of economic crimes has increased drastically, while the overall damage from such cases has decreased significantly. For the year 2022, the police crime statistics presented by the Federal Ministry of the Interior on Thursday show 73,114 cases of white-collar crime. That is a good 42 percent more than in the previous year. In contrast, the annual damage fell by 14.6 percent to just under 2.1 billion euros. In the previous year, damage of 2.4 billion euros had occurred.
The figures come from the State Criminal Police Offices and are published by Federal Criminal Police Office collected. Most economic crimes are frauds. Examples are capital investment fraud, through which perpetrators enrich themselves by making allegedly lucrative projects attractive to investors or private investors, but divert the invested money for themselves or relatives. Billing fraud by healthcare providers at the expense of health insurance companies and patients also causes damage. Economic crimes often result in investigations lasting several years and complex collective proceedings with numerous cases and victims. Therefore, the statistics regularly fluctuate greatly.
Thousands of dating users scammed
According to the current crime report by the federal and state interior ministries, the sharp increase in economic crime in 2022 due in particular to cases of benefit fraud. A footnote in the report reveals that the increase is mainly due to a mammoth case with more than 33,700 victims and a loss of over 17.7 million euros. As the extensive investigations completed by the police in Schleswig-Holstein in 2022 revealed, fraudsters had operated an alleged online dating platform and collected money from the numerous bona fide users.
Employees paid by the scammer company exchanged chat messages with the victims to make them believe they could meet attractive partners outside of the platform. As the “Hamburger Abendblatt” reported in mid-March on the case from northern Germany, which has now also become known nationwide, the operators of the fraudulent dating portal had even introduced an internal digital currency known as Flirtcoins. Women and men looking for a partner had to buy the Flirtcoins for one euro each in order to be able to use the dating platform. With this modern-looking scam, the fraudsters increased their income considerably.
While the number of cases of white-collar crime has risen sharply, the number of suspects has fallen by more than 7 percent to 26,770 people. 28 percent are non-German suspects. The bottom line is that fewer offenders have harmed more victims overall. Perhaps this is also due to the fact that the perpetrators are becoming more and more efficient thanks to digital tools, as in the case of the online dating portal.