Sharp-eared grandma spots phone con

The fight against confidence tricksters got a boost thanks to a sharp-minded senior and a dim-witted caller asking for €10,000, Dortmund police reported on Tuesday.

The 85-year-old woman from the Ruhr-area city was taken aback when the caller greeted her with the standard German, "Hallo Oma, wie geht es Dir? (Hi Grandma, how are you?)
No matter than she doesn't actually have a grandson – his ignorance of her roots piqued her annoyance in the opening moments of the conversation.
"First, you don't say that here in Dortmund, you say 'Na Omma'," she ticked him off, before curiosity got the better of her and she asked what he wanted.
Undeterred, the caller explained that he urgently needed €10,000, at which point his 'grannie' said she had no money, hung up and notified the police.
Each day, dozens of senior citizens fall prey to conmen seeking money or financial information by phone, or bluffing their way into homes.
Police praised the woman for her handling of the situation, but noting that the conman was possibly shrewder than appears: "Some elderly people are lonely, forgetful, hard of hearing or just too trusting" and allow themselves to be led along, a spokeswoman for the Dortmund police told The Local.
And conmen will use various ruses to draw people into conversations before trying to extract valuable information from them, including bank details.
But apart from his use of 'Hochdeutsch', the caller made another fundamental error in Germany, she added: "German politeness is such that you don't make these requests by phone but in person!" 
In the event of any unusual phone calls purporting to be from relatives or friends, police advise:
– Be suspicious if anyone asks for money by phone. Just hang up.
– Check if a claimed relative is one by calling back to any pertinent family numbers you have.
– Inform the police immediately on 110 if the call seems bogus, or if you were successfully cheated out of money.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners