The government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), a federal state in West Germany, is believed to have lost tens of millions of euros due to the failed creation of a secure website for the distribution of emergency aid money for him COVID-19. The money was lost after a COVID-19 Phishing campaign.
The swindlers created copies of one official site, created by the NRW Ministry of Finance, to distribute financial aid to people affected by COVID-19.
The criminals distributed links that led to their own sites and using phishing emails, deceived users and they stole information belonging to locals. With this information at their disposal, German citizens and have applied for state aid. Of course, replaced the bank account to which they would enter the money, putting their own.
It is estimated that tens of millions of euros were lost
The phishing campaign lasted from mid-March to April 9, when the NRW government suspended payments and "downloaded" the website.
Prior to the site's closure, NRW police said they had received 576 official reports. scam.
The German newspaper Reuters also stated that the government had received more than 380.000 applications for state aid in relation to him coronavirus. 360.000 applications were approved and payments were made.
NRW officials said about 3.500 to 4.000 of these requests for assistance were most likely part of the COVID-19 phishing attack.
With a rough estimate, the NRW government believes that has lost between € 31,5 million ($ 34,25 million) and up to € 100 million ($ 109 million).
State officials are blamed for the losses
Investigations are ongoing. NRW prosecutors are currently examining two phishing sites used to defraud them. users and information theft. One of the sites is called wirtschaft-nrw.info.
The charges are solely against NRW officials, who did not find a secure way to distribute the money.
Other local governments in Germany have asked users to upload scanned documents to prove it ID card their or download a form and mail it. NRW, on the other hand, demanded that residents and companies in the area simply fill out a form on the site, without further verifying their identities.
The funding site was reactivated three days ago, but payments will only be made if there is sufficient data showing the recipient's identity.