Old Turkish woman conned as ‘televangelist Oktar’s kitten’
Fraudsters have conned a 70-year-old woman in Istanbul into believing that she was wanted by the police for being a suspected follower of arrested televangelist Adnan Oktar, whom he called his “kittens.”
Oktar, who is also known abroad as Harun Yahya, was arrested in Istanbul on July 11 on over 30 charges, including forming a criminal gang, sexual abuse of children, and fraud. Dozens of his 234 followers, who are on the wanted list of the police, remain at large.
According to a July 24 report by private broadcaster Show TV, the woman, identified only as Saadet U., received a phone call from a man who introduced himself as a police.
“Your name is included in the list of arrests linked to Oktar. It seems that you have his weapons and money,” the man reportedly told the woman, claiming that she was one of the televangelist’s criminal “kittens.”
Saadet U. was initially suspicious of the call, but she explained to the broadcaster that she ultimately believed that the caller was a law enforcement officer after she was connected to what she thought to be the police hotline, 155.
Following a long phone call, Saadet U. was persuaded that she could get out of the arrest list if she paid 31,000 Turkish Liras.
“They had given me a password, which was ‘bayrak’ [flag], and an address. I went to the address with the money, said ‘bayrak,’ and the swindlers came, took away the bag and just ran away,” the woman told the broadcaster.
Fraudsters have been phishing via telephone in similar ways in the past few years in Turkey, usually trying to exhort money from the victims, claiming that they were wanted by authorities as terror suspects.