Банкеръ Weekly



Well known and reliable media in which Bulgarian people trust have become frequently involved in fraudulent schemes lately. Both bTV and Nova Television became victims last May, police officers from several towns announced. For some ten days last month false agents of the Gold Rush game, in which viewers can win decent amounts in return to a single phone call, took away about BGN13,000 from credulous people in Sofia, Plovdiv, Bourgas, and Kazanlak. According to the Plovdiv department of the Ministry of Interior, three men managed to steal BGN4,000 and USD330 from a 61-year-old citizen by staging a Gold Rush prize ceremony. The police department in Kazanlak in turn reported that illegal game officers stole BGN1,500 and USD1,260 from a 74-year-old man living in the town.Still, the most shocking story came from Rousse where two swindlers cheated another old man to give them the money he'd just drawn from a bank. Moreover, they convinced him to go back and draw the rest of his savings rounding the amount to BGN4,500. The scoundrels made him confident by telling him he was the lucky man to guess the winning numbers of the lottery. The bTV managers confirmed they knew about the fraudulent schemes. The Gold Rush team underlined that they are constantly warning their viewers that stakes are only accepted on the game phone numbers. Sources from the television admitted to the BANKER weekly that there were other programs, too, that attract swindlers trying to find naive victims. One recent trend is the door sale of lingerie made by the ladies from the Ogledala program. An older yet effective trick is to sell tickets for the Slavi Show on the streets in smaller towns throughout the country.In the end of May the Nova TV website informed about false inquiries going on in Sofia in which inquirers misused the media's name and visited people's homes offering to sell goods at unreal prices. The television also announced in the news about a false investigation that took place in the Sofia Druzhba quarter. This is not our business and we have never authorized anyone to do so, the site informed. Should you meet these false reporters, please call the police immediately.Police inquiries reveal that the popular Who Wants to Be A Millionaire show is often used in fraudulent schemes. Nova Television also informed about swindlers who are interested in another program, I Want a Job, and offer potential victims a chance to participate and even win for a commission. In the news and in our website, we are denying every attempt for misuse that we hear about, Sylvia Zurleva, Chairwoman of Nova TV's Board of Directors, explained to the BANKER weekly. There is no connection among the cases and they usually harm people who show extreme confidence. As long as we have observed, frauds become most frequent on occasion of charitable campaigns that aim at collecting support for sick people. Last year there was a man who used the name of the television without permission. We warned our viewers as fast as we could to be cautious.The Council for Electronic Media explained that the Radio and Television Act did not oblige the media to warn their viewers about potential misuses. In the past few months the council tightened its control over the TV programs paying special attention to the commercials and the correct announcement of phone tariffs offered to the viewers. The cases described are typical examples of fraud which are within the competence of the police, the prosecutors, the investigators, and possibly the court, the council member Raina Nikolova said. If the frauds do not stop, the only thing the council can do is accept a declaration inviting the media to take measures - but it cannot oblige them.

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