Fake calls pretending to be from the police are on the rise. In the last few weeks people in Germany have been receiving fake calls from Europol or Interpol! Watch out. It’s a scam!
Fake calls from Interpol or Europol:
“This call is from Europol. We would like to inform you that your identity number is in misuse. For more information, please press 1.“
For several weeks there have been an increasing number of calls from Europol and other police authorities. According to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), these are not real calls from the investigative authorities, but a scam. Find out what to look out for when receiving such calls and what to do if the worst comes to the worst.
The person called is prompted by computer voice to dial “1” on the phone. If this happens, you will be forwarded to a person who often asks in English for personal data and financial circumstances. Failure to do so will result in the call being terminated immediately. Attempts to persuade callers to transfer money immediately or hand it over in person are also increasing.
How does the scam work?
► The scammers randomly call numbers that they suspect they acquired illegally on the Internet. Real-looking mobile phone numbers or even the numbers of an authority appear on the display of the caller. The perpetrators use special software to falsify their identities.
► Anyone who accepts the call first gets a taped announcement in English. This gives the impression that you are involved in a scam or a crime. You are then asked to be put through to an employee of the supposed authority by pressing a dialing key (usually 1).
► This in turn tries to persuade the person called to hand over personal data or to transfer money, also in English. If you hang up or reject the call, the scammers will try again with a different number sometime later.
Cleverly exploited fears
Your identity has been stolen and someone else is using it for serious crimes such as money laundering: the fraudsters have cleverly adapted the scenario for their call scam to current news
Thousands in Germany complain about fake calls from Interpol or Europol
According to the BKA, the fraudsters use a special procedure for the calls that displays actual police numbers or a cell phone number that is similar to your own. According to the Federal Network Agency, the authority has received more than 7,000 complaints from consumers since the end of February. In general, the Federal Criminal Police Office gives the tip that police authorities would never ask for a transfer of money.
This is how you recognize fake calls from Interpol or Europol
The call starts with a computer voice. It says that your ID or other documents were used by you. Then you should press the key “1”. This will direct you to an alleged Europol employee. He will then speak to you in English. According to reports, scammers often have an Indian accent.
What to do in case you receive these calls
The BKA gives these tips:
If a robotic voice claims that Europol is calling, you should simply hang up immediately, the BKA recommends.
Do not give out personal or financial details over the phone.
Don’t follow callers’ requests, don’t engage in conversation, or pressure yourself – just hang up.
Also, never give money to strangers.
If you receive such a call, file a criminal complaint with your local police station. Research the phone number of the police station yourself and dial the number yourself. Never use the callback button.
The limit for private individuals is to be 30 grams of weed! The German federal government is planning a higher cap for cannabis. Legalization in Germany is intended to counteract the black market.
30 grams of weed! The upper limit for the possession of cannabis is to be raised for private individuals. The traffic light coalition is currently planning this. The plan is to counteract sales on the black market by legalizing small quantities.
Legalization of cannabis: federal government plans higher upper limit of 30 grams of weed for private consumption
On the way to the planned legalization of cannabis in Germany, the federal government wants to set a higher upper limit for permitted small quantities. As the SPD domestic politician, Carmen Wegge emphasized 20 to 30 grams of weed are under discussion. All adults should be able to buy cannabis in licensed shops.
Cannabis upper limit: Legalization should have a decriminalizing effect
Above all, cannabis should be decriminalized. Due to the licensed delivery, consumers can be sure that they will not get contaminated cannabis from questionable sources. Legalization aims to completely dry up the black market, according to SPD politician Wegge. By the end of the year, the SPD, Greens, and FDP plan to present a draft law on cannabis approval. There have already been demonstrations in Berlin for the legalization of cannabis.
Cannabis legalization is coming to Germany!
The German coalition government had already agreed on the legalization of cannabis in the coalition agreement. It states: “We are introducing the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed outlets. This controls the quality, prevents the transfer of contaminated substances, and guarantees the protection of minors.”
Cannabis cap: How much weed is still allowed in Germany?
At the moment there are different limits for personal use in the federal states, where no criminal prosecution takes place. Bremen and Berlin are the front runners when it comes to personal consumption with up to 15 grams. In Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and North Rhine-Westphalia you can still own up to 10 grams. In the other federal states, 6 grams are allowed.
Cannabis consumption in Germany: In which federal states is there an upper limit for cannabis for personal use?
German federal state
Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia
The rest of German states
This measure is nothing new! The idea has been around since 2015! The German Bundestag under Angela Merkel’s government rejected it!
In 2015, the then parliamentary group of Bündnis 90 Die Grünen (Green Party) presented a draft for a so-called Cannabis Control Act (CannKG) under the motto “Regulate instead of criminalizing”. It was justified, among other things, by the fact that there is no efficient youth protection on the black market created by criminalization and the weed sold there is often laced with dangerous substances.
The aims of the bill were, among other things, to no longer criminalize adult users and to relieve law enforcement authorities of numerous proceedings in the field of cannabis. With the creation of a regulated and monitored system for the cultivation, trade, and sale of cannabis, consumer and youth protection should be observed and addiction prevention should go hand in hand.
The law included the following regulations:
Decriminalization: Acquisition and possession of up to 30g of cannabis or three cannabis plants for personal use by adults allowed
Protection of minors: Under 18-year-olds are completely prohibited from acquiring and possessing them
Control: Cultivation, processing, transport, and wholesale and retail trade are regulated by law and are subject to strict personnel and organizational requirements as well as safety requirements.
Regulated sale of cannabis and cannabis-containing products only in approved cannabis specialty shops, shipping is prohibited. There is a strict advertising ban.
Specialty cannabis shops are subject to strict regulations. Children and young people are not allowed to enter them. The staff is trained in addiction prevention and receives regular further training. Customers are informed about the risks of consumption, the dangers of addiction, and harm-reducing measures and, if necessary, are referred to counseling and therapy offers.
Consumer protection: The cultivation of cannabis is subject to strict regulations.
Prevention: Products contain a leaflet with information on dosage and effects, possible interactions as well as precautionary and emergency measures as well as warnings, among other things, on the protection of minors and the dangers of addiction.
Road traffic: there is a limit value for cannabis when driving motor vehicles (5.0 ng/ml in blood serum).
The German Bundestag rejected the CannKG on the recommendation of the Health Committee in 2017.
Selling cannabis in Germany in pharmacies and coffee shops?
According to Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP), anyone who wants to sell cannabis for recreational purposes must prove knowledge of the drug and the risks associated with it.
The goal agreed by the SPD, Greens, and FDP in the coalition agreement is clear: “It should be legally possible for adults to buy cannabis in licensed shops,” said the Minister of the German Press Agency. This could be pharmacies, for example, “but we will possibly also draw the circle further”. A prerequisite could be the “required expertise of the sales staff”. This would put the salespeople in a position to “ provide information about the products and risky cannabis use, especially in the case of evidently addicted people”.
The 2022 census will take place from mid-May to mid-August 2022.
This is a serious survey based on the 2022 census law (ZensG 2022).
There is a “household survey” and a “building and housing census”.
Participation is mandatory.
► Have you received a suggested date and an information flyer from the census by post? In this case, it is a serious survey. The census is carried out by the statistical offices of the federal and state governments with the aim of finding out more about the population and, based on this, enabling political and economic decisions – for example on questions about housing and educational opportunities. Existing data from state registers are not accurate enough here.
What is the 2022 census?
The 2022 census is a nationwide census. A census is a tabulation that counts the number of residents and also obtains data on how they live, resides, and work. The census is prepared and carried out by the statistical offices of the federal and state governments.
The 2022 census will be random
► Households will be surveyed at random between mid-May and mid-August 2022. A census of buildings and apartments is also planned. The information from the census is then used, for example, to allocate tax funds, allocate constituencies, or assess new construction projects for housing.
► The 2022 census will be carried out as a “register-based census”. This means that data already in registers are evaluated first. In addition, information is collected that has not been recorded anywhere before – such as information on the professional situation. The samples also supplement the information from the existing registers because it allows one to assess how accurate or inaccurate the register data is. This way they can be used more reliably.
Who will be interviewed in the 2022 census?
► Not everyone will be surveyed. This distinguishes the 2022 census from a complete population census which took place in 1987 in the old German Federal Republic. Today, most of the data is available at the local administrations. These are transmitted for official statistics. In the 2022 census, around 10.3 million randomly selected people in households will for example be asked about their age or nationality. This requires a ten-minute personal interview. The interviewers announce themselves in advance in writing.
► In addition, data is collected using online questionnaires and a random household survey. Information on education and employment is also requested. Since the housing and building stock is not recorded across the board, all owners of condominiums or residential buildings in Germany are surveyed by post.
You do not have to register yourself to take part in the census. The respective state statistical office will contact you by post if you have to take part in the survey.
What data will the 2022 census collect?
The interviewers of the 2022 census will not come to you unannounced. You should therefore only provide information if you have previously received an appointment proposal.
The reputable interviewers are specially trained for this task and can identify themselves.
In the census, data is collected about the participants. This includes, among other things:
composition of the household
Details such as your name and other personal data are only used for the implementation – so that, for example, the same person is not interviewed twice. All personal data will then be deleted so that the data relevant to the census can be evaluated anonymously. No data will be passed on to other government agencies such as registration offices, tax offices or the police.
All interviewers are also sworn to secrecy.
How is the data collected?
For the 2022 census, the data will be collected in two different ways.
1. Household survey
When surveying households, 10 percent of the population is randomly selected and interviewed. The procedure is as follows:
You will receive a suggested date and further information on the census by post.
If you are unable to attend at the time the appointment is proposed, you can get in touch with the contact person provided and arrange a more suitable appointment.
Interviewers will come to you at the agreed time. You can view the questionnaires beforehand on the 2022 census website.
2. Census of buildings and dwellings
The census of buildings and apartments takes place in a different way. As with the household survey, you will receive an invitation to participate by post. In this case, instead of an interview, you fill out a questionnaire yourself. If possible, you should do this online and with the data from the invitation.
When was the last census in Germany and what did it reveal?
The last census took place in Germany in 2011 and cost 667.4 million euros. Around 80,000 interviewers interviewed almost eight million people. According to the results of the census, the number of inhabitants in Germany fell by 1.5 million to 80.2 million.
► During the 2011 census:
Berlin lost around 180,000 inhabitants
Hamburg lost almost 83,000 inhabitants
This had financial consequences for both states. As a result, Berlin and Hamburg filed a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court against the constitutionality of the census methods. In 2015, the court announced that the 2011 census was compatible with the Basic Law.
What are the penalties if the census information is refused?
On the basis of the Federal Statistics Act, fines of up to 5,000 euros can be imposed for refusing to provide information. However, the actual fines are determined by the federal states.
Beach in sight! The Sunbathing season in Germany has begun on the North Sea and Baltic Sea with no Corona restrictions!
Sunbathing season in Germany: It’s time to visit Germany! Travelers only have to accept a few corona restrictions on the north German coast. What needs to be considered at the start of the bathing season on the North and Baltic Seas.
Sunbathing season has started: Beaches are now guarded again
Even on the coast, only basic corona protection applies
Overview of the most beautiful beaches on the North and Baltic seas
The nationwide basic corona protection applies in the federal states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The additional special rules in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have expired.
Sunbathing season starts: Beaches are now guarded again
Despite water temperatures of just under twelve degrees, beachgoers on the coasts of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania can already jump back into the North Sea and Baltic Sea in many places.
► Mid-May is the official season opening for the watch season of the German Life Saving Society (DLRG). The lifeguards of the water rescue service of the German Red Cross (DRK) have also started the watch season.
Sunbathing season in Germany: The 9 most beautiful beaches on the North and Baltic Seas
1. Binz Beach, Ruegen
A five-kilometer long, fine sandy beach is part of the seaside resort of Binz on Rügen, which is characterized by magnificent spa architecture from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The sheltered location in the bay of Prorer Wiek ensures a weak surf, which makes the beach in Binz particularly attractive for families with small children.
There are a total of 64 access points, plus designated textile, nudist, and dog beach sections.
A large part of the beach is guarded during the bathing season.
Good to know: Rügen is the largest and, with 77,000 inhabitants, the most populous German island. In addition to the seaside resort of Binz, holidaymakers should also visit the Jasmund National Park with its famous chalk cliffs.
Germany’s longest sandy beach is 42 kilometers long and belongs to the Baltic Sea island of Usedom.
The 19th Century of German bathing tourism began here: The first lodging house, the “White Castle”, opened in Heringsdorf in 1820 and accommodated numerous prominent personalities, such as the later Kaiser Wilhelm II and the writer Kurt Tucholsky.
The imposing resort architecture in Heringsdorf, Ahlbeck, and Bansin still bears witness to the history, as do the five piers in Usedom, including Germany’s longest in Heringsdorf at 508 meters and Germany’s oldest in Ahlbeck, built-in 1898.
Fact: the longest beach promenade in Europe at twelve kilometers.
Timmendorfer Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Germany. Beach chairs can be rented for two or three people.
Thanks to the soft, fine sand and lots of play equipment in the various sections, children in particular also feel at home on Timmendorfer Beach.
The town of the same name, which has 9,000 inhabitants, has been allowed to call itself a Baltic Sea health resort since 1951. Visitors will find numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops in the center and on the promenade.
The three piers – the Maritim-Seebrücke, the Seeschlösschenbrücke and the Fischkopf-Seebrücke in the district of Niendorf – are great for strolling.
Beach chairs and tents, dunes and extensive, white sandy beaches: typical East Frisian islands.
Borkum’s southern beach is considered to be particularly idyllic and family-friendly, and it is also less crowded than the larger northern beach.
Despite the calm, the south beach is guarded. There are playgrounds, sanitary facilities, and several kiosks, the so-called milk stalls. Borkum is the westernmost and at almost 31 square kilometers the largest East Frisian island.
Good to know: Borkum is the only East Frisian island that is always surrounded by seawater, which is why the air is particularly low in pollen and iodine.
The East Frisian island of Norderney also has several beautiful beaches to offer. In the northwest of the island, the western beach is followed by the northern beach, which stretches along the coast for about ten kilometers.
In the high season, visitors can rent beach chairs here. Incidentally, the north beach is not only popular with those looking for relaxation.
Windsurfers will also find the best conditions here. With an area of 26.29 square kilometers, Norderney is the second-largest East Frisian island.
Fact: 85 percent of the island area belongs to the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park.
Probably the wildest beach in Germany is on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula between Rostock and Stralsund on the Baltic Sea coast.
The fine sandy western beach, which is about 14 kilometers long, borders the Darss Forest, which consists mainly of pine trees. The result is a unique landscape: the treetops grow downwind and bend over the beach, and beach grass, crowberries, and heather have settled on the dunes.
Twelve kilometers long and up to two kilometers wide: On the beach of St. Peter-Ording in the Schleswig-Holstein district of Nordfriesland you can enjoy the vastness.
It’s time to swim! There is enough space for swimmers, walkers, sand yachtsmen, windsurfers, and kitesurfers. There are numerous wicker beach chairs, but the 13 stilt houses on the beach, which are considered the town’s landmark and are more than 100 years old, are unique.
The first pile dwelling opened in 1911 under the name “Giftbude” because there was “wat gift” (High German: something there). With currently five pile-dwelling restaurants, the original purpose has been preserved to this day.
By the way: St. Peter-Ording is the only German seaside resort that bears the title “North Sea Healing and Sulfur Baths” because the town has its own sulfur spring.
The 2022 Munich Oktoberfest will take place from September 17 until October 3 on the Theresienwiese. There are a lot of fines issued during this period. Find out what the fines at the Oktoberfest are and how expensive the Wiesn can be
Fines at the Oktoberfest: Wiesn for local Munich residents is a horror show! Dirty S-Bahns, full U-Bahns, and commuters going to work always wonder how visitors can misbehave! Below is an overview of the various warnings and fines that you might be faced with during the Oktoberfest and answers to frequently asked questions, for example about the Oktoberfest smoking ban or the fine for urinating in public.
From 1.1 per mil or if there is a traffic hazard from 0.3 per mil
Driver’s license suspension, imprisonment or fine, 3 points
Violation of the smoking ban in Bavaria
No fine. You will not be served and probably evicted, because there is a smoking ban in restaurants in Bavaria
Stealing a beer mug
Vomiting or or wetting yourself in the taxi
Depending on the damage, up to 1500 euros for the taxi cleaning
Travel without a ticket
Flying a drone over the fairgrounds
Fine from 500 euros, report (violation of aviation law)
Questions that people ask during their first Oktoberfest
May I take the beer mug with me as a souvenir?
If you steal a beer mug, this can be classified as theft and thus as a criminal offense. However, only repeat offenders have to reckon with a report as a rule.
Are there more traffic controls during the Oktoberfest?
Yes, the police are increasingly carrying out alcohol checks, so drunk visitors are better off walking, taking a taxi, or using public transport to return home.
What makes the Munich Oktoberfest soo impressive?
The massive crowd requires a lot of organization. Emergency services of all kinds are required to cater to the more than 6 million more or less intoxicated people for 16 days on 31 hectares of festival grounds. The following statistics provide a look at the sheer effort required to make the Munich Oktoberfest a success:
► Paramedics at the Oktoberfest
This year, over 100 Red Cross helpers with an estimated 2,000 emergency services and around 175 doctor shifts will be helping. Most of this is done voluntarily!
► Beer at the Oktoberfest
Too much alcohol? Not for the beneficiaries. On average, more than 7 million liters of liquid gold run over the counters, which also benefits the city of Munich’s turnover. Revenue in the billions will be generated not only by the marquee operators but also by the hotels and taxi drivers.
► Police officers
According to information from the Bavarian police, a total of 300 officers are constantly on duty at the Oktoberfest, plus another 200 police officers who ensure road safety and general security in the area around the Theresienwiese. They work in shifts so that the safety of the Oktoberfest visitors can be guaranteed at any time of the day or night.
► Other emergency services
A total of around 12,000 people are on duty. Of these, 1,600 are waiters.
Beer mug theft: A complaint will be made
For certain things, the Oktoberfest is not the right place. But if you take a beer mug from the beer tent as a souvenir, you are committing theft. It’s not one of the Oktoberfest traditions!
Stealing a beer mug at the Munich Oktoberfest can result in a fine of up to 360 euros or a prison sentence of up to one year. However, this only applies to repeat offenders. In most cases, a complaint will be filed, but because of the insignificance , there will be no proceedings, at least as long as the person concerned did not commit any other offenses apart from stealing the beer mug, such as insults.
Beer mug-stealing has become a real popular sport in recent years. That is why the security guards at the Munich Oktoberfest pay more attention to the whereabouts of the mugs.
If you want an Oktoberfest beer mug as a souvenir, you can buy an original beer mug at the souvenir stands! – this is marked with a colorful plaque as an honestly purchased beer mug.
Public urination: punishment is a fine
Please save the local Munich residents from the “ammonia smell”. It’s also not nice when people go to the S-Bahn or the U-Bahn or are on their way to the Oktoberfest and everyone is standing on the corner and peeing on the house wall.
Public urination is reported as an administrative offence: the personal details of the delinquent are immediately recorded by the police officers, and then the responsible authority sends a fine notice. Foreign visitors must pay the administrative offense fine immediately. In Munich, the fine for public urination is around 100 euros.
Smoking in restaurants: Beer tents also count!
Since 2010 there has been a smoking ban in all restaurants in Bavaria; Oktoberfest beer tents also count as restaurants, which means that smoking is not permitted at the Oktoberfest.
However, the smoker in the tent does not have to expect a fine. The tent operators decide for themselves whether they will punish the you by refusing to serve you.
Public nuisance: Expensive penalties may apply
Where large numbers of people consume alcohol, the mood is more relaxed. At the Munich Oktoberfest, the sight of couples and public displays of love are not uncommon. But now and then it’s not just flirting or kissing. If it comes to a public sex, the lovers can expect the following:
Arousal of public nuisance fine: The extent to which the public is harassed is irrelevant here. Public sex counts as an act of public indecency. As a rule, public sexual intercourse is therefore punished with a fine of around 1000 euros. Of course, everyone involved has to pay this fine! A prison sentence of up to one year is also possible for this offense. The police officers record the personal details of the delinquents and forward them to the public prosecutor’s office if they “excite a public nuisance”.
Getting on public transport without a ticket: fines applies
A lot of drunk people simply don’t pay attention and simply wander into the S-Bahns and U-Bahns in the city. You will be fined!
► What happens if you get caught fare dodging during the Munich Oktoberfest?
If you cannot show a valid ticket when using public transport, you usually have to pay an increased fare. This amounts to at least 60 euros. Repeat offenders must expect to be reported.
► What crime is fare evasion?
According to Section 265a of the Criminal Code, the legislator considers driving without a valid ticket to be fraudulent. This offense can result in a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.
► When is imprisonment due to fare evasion?
In most cases, a fine is imposed for fare evasion. However, those who cannot afford the ticket are usually unable to pay the fine. The legislature then provides for substitute imprisonment.
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