“He pretended to be my son to get 970 euros.” Here’s how the Paralympic champion foiled the telephone scam

PESARO – «Dad, I lost my phone». They thought they could cheat him but instead they found a black belt of promptness, clarity and stubbornness: Marco…

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PESARO – «Dad, I lost my phone». They thought they could cheat him but instead they found a black belt of promptness, clarity and stubbornness: Marco Manzini, Paralympic taekwondo champion, foiled a telephone scam planned against him. Not only that: with skill and calm (it must be said) Olimpica played along by having the details provided to make the requested payment (obviously never paid) and then providing them to the police.

From deep coma to races

Thus, Manzoff, a former banker, after having won the battle of life more than 10 years ago, waking up after a frightening accident and 40 days of deep coma, has once again knocked out his opponents emerging, as always, victorious. «It all started with a text message – explains Manzini, demonstrating as always great clarity and mental strength that overcome the 80% disability with which he has to live -. He wrote to me: “Dad I lost my phone. This is my new number. Save it and write to me on Whats app. Something happened, the SIM is not active yet.” I didn’t take the bait and I said to him: “Are you Mirko? Are you OK?”. My son, in reality, is called Matteo.” And the scammer fell for it. «He wrote to me again: “Something happened, I had to block the SIM and the bank application. Dad I have to make an urgent payment of 970 euros. Can you pay me for it at the tobacconist’s? I’ll give them back to you in 3 days.”

Lucidity and reasoning like a champion

Manzini reasoned quickly: «My son, Matteo, has his head on his shoulders and would never ask me for such a high sum. Let’s say it’s him: if he doesn’t have them now, how can he give them back to me in 3 days? So I pretended to get angry, calling him Mirko again: “But Mirko, you’re a money-eating idiot, now come with me to the police.” He had a ready answer: “No, because I’ve already been there to report the loss.” So I pretended to take the bait by asking him for the payment details and the scammer sent them to me. It was 8.30pm, I texted him that it was late and that I would do it on Monday. He replied: “When you’re done, send me the receipt”. And, at that point, I contacted the police to report this scam attempt. The military told me it was the third case within half an hour, inviting me to go the next day to report it.”

Prefect and police alerted

The scammer probably didn’t understand who exactly he was dealing with. In fact, Manzini also immediately alerted the prefect of Pesaro and Urbino, Emanuela Saveria Greco, with whom he now has a close friendship. «I told her everything and she told me that I was very good – says Manzini – I printed the data they provided me for the bank transfer. Today I will block this number to avoid having any more problems. Scammers try to hit you in the heart, exploiting momentary weaknesses, but instead you always have to have the strength to use your head.”

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