German police arrested several suspects. The men are accused of stealing at least 4 million euros from online banking customers.
Online banking scam: Police arrest suspects
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The German police have successfully cracked down on cyber gangsters who cheated bank customers. This was announced by the Federal Criminal Police Office.
Three house searches
At the request of the Cologne public prosecutor’s office, central and contact point for cybercrime NRW (ZAC NRW), the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) searched three properties in North Rhine-Westphalia with police support today. An arrest warrant against a 24-year-old German citizen, requested by the public prosecutor’s office in Verden (Aller) – Central Office for Internet and Computer Crime (Cybercrime), and enforced by the Regional Court of Hanover, was executed and he was arrested. According to the BKA, he and two other suspects are accused of having committed commercial computer fraud in a large number of cases and computer sabotage in particularly serious cases.
This is how the scam started…
The two public prosecutors involved, Cologne and Verden, accused the accused of having caused at least four million euros in damage through computer fraud. The three men are said to have obtained the money by defrauding bank customers, to whom they sent phishing emails on a large scale. These e-mails were visually and linguistically believable based on real bank e-mails, as the BKA explains.
The victims were informed in these forged letters that their house bank would change their security system. The accounts of the recipients of the mail are affected. The mail recipients were thus tricked into clicking on a link, which in turn led to a bank site that looked deceptively real. There, the phishing victims were asked to enter their login data and a current TAN, which in turn enabled the fraudsters to see all the data in the account of the respective victim – including the amount of credit and availability.
… and so nasty it went on
The perpetrators then contacted the victims and tricked them into revealing further TAN numbers as alleged bank employees. With the TAN, they were then able to steal funds from the victims’ accounts.
Division of labor among the gangsters
The accused are said to have divided the necessary work steps, including programming, processing the data and the telephone calls, among themselves.
In addition, the prosecutors accuse the accused of having carried out so-called DDoS attacks on financial institutions and payment card providers in order to criminally obtain further bank data and to cover up their actions. The websites, servers and networks of the companies were overloaded by masses of automated queries, causing the online services to be unavailable or their availability severely restricted. In order to carry out their crimes, the accused are said to have resorted to offers from other cyber criminals who sell various forms of cyber attacks as “Crime-as-a-Service” on the dark web.
The 24-year-old and a 40-year-old have already been charged in the proceedings by the Verden public prosecutor before the Hanover Regional Court. They are accused of 124 acts of computer fraud, which they are said to have committed together in the period from October 3rd, 2020 to May 29th, 2021 in Hanover and elsewhere.
The investigations against the suspects at ZAC NRW are ongoing. The BKA does not want to provide any further information on the procedure at the current time.
Users fall for a well-known scam
Such phishing emails are constantly circulating in ever new variants. This example shows how important our constant reporting on new phishing variants is. Here are just a few examples:
New scam: QR code phishing
Postbank, DKB, ING: Fraudsters target bank customers
Attention bank customers: Fraud with a 4999 euro transfer in circulation
New attacks on Volksbank customers: How to recognize the danger (many other phishing warnings are also linked there)
300 euros as a gift from the Sparkasse? Beware of this email
Warning: Volksbank customers targeted by scammers
Volks- und Raiffeisenbank: Sophisticated attack on customers