Fraudsters must go to jail

If some savings bank employees hadn’t made it so easy for them, the four accused men from chemnitz and the surrounding area could have faced much longer prison sentences. But so the district court of bamberg imposed on the gang of computer fraudsters between three years and seven months and two years and one month in prison. One even got off with a suspended sentence of 13 months.

Christine H. (name changed) is astonished when she takes a look at her account statements in june 2018: suddenly 49000 euro have disappeared! As an inquiry at her savings bank in bamberg reveals, she allegedly transferred the sum in three tranches herself. Thereby female christine H. Nothing at all about it. She also does not know the subject or the recipient. When a little later another 48,000 euros were missing, the bank intervened and saved the money.

Like christine H. Is it like many people all over germany. Cases from schweinfurt, wetzlar, bensheim, gottingen, munster, hanover and dusseldorf are pending at the district court of bamberg for the period may to november 2018. In some cases, the perpetrators made up to 24 consecutive attempts, as long as their scam had not yet been noticed and the account had not yet been blocked. In hundreds of other cases, the robbery was only attempted, but nothing was stolen.

The method is well known: phishing e-mails are used to lure unsuspecting bank customers to fake savings bank homepages. There they are supposed to register and thus leave the data that fraudsters need to empty the accounts.

Savings bank employees lulled

The accused had received extensive lists of thousands of savings bank customers throughout germany from their backers with russian first names and checked them. In concrete terms, the aim was to find out how much could be taken, as prosecutor markus kammann from the central office for cybercrime in bamberg explained. In addition, the criminals managed to pose as account holders in chats with sparkasse employees and to switch the transfer procedure to push-TAN. You can do your money transactions via a special app on your smartphone or tablet. The prerequisite is access data, which is normally sent by mail for security reasons. The defendants, however, got the savings bank advisors to transmit the push-tans online, even though this was not permitted at all. So the fraudsters had unhindered access through the electronic mailbox. The four defendants then passed on their findings to their clients, whose identities were not made public during the trial.

From the background now began the debiting. Only in very few cases did the savings banks manage to save the money by means of a recall.

In order to make up for at least part of the damage, the public prosecutor’s office in bamberg confiscated nearly 70,000 euros in cash that was lying around in drawers during house searches. In addition, about 6500 euros on accounts and two cars, whose emergency enchantment brought in another 12 000 euros erlos.

Nevertheless, many victims will end up empty-handed. For first, according to preliminary calculations, more than 400,000 euros have seeped into dark channels. The quartet received a third of the booty as their share. Secondly, only a fraction of the cases identified were ever brought before the criminal division. And thirdly, the credit institutions are not entirely unjustified in blaming their customers, as they have been careless with their access data.

Harsh criticism of savings banks

From "unlawful and amateurish behavior of the savings banks" lawyer christian schobling from leipzig speaks in his summation. Customer data had been deliberately disclosed. That’s the only reason the crimes could have been committed in the first place, the defense attorney said. In the following were "scandal" and "declaration of bankruptcy still the most harmless terms that fell.

"There were clear instructions from the banks that their employees did not follow, attorney at law alexander giehler from greiz.

Nevertheless the quartet was sentenced. "It is impossible to explain to the general public that they do not immigrate with the damage" said the presiding judge markus reznik.

Only one person does not have to go to jail: he had just arrived a few weeks before the frauds were discovered and was still "learning the ropes".