The Government of Germany recently launched a website to provide financial aid amidst this world stalling Coronavirus pandemic. As per the government’s COVID-19 relief strategy, the government was to transfer €9,000 to each self-employed individual and €25,000 to any corporation with more than 50 employees for proper sustenance during these times.
However, not having a proper method for authentication of bank accounts caused this relief strategy to backfire. To take advantage of this, Hackers deployed a plan to siphon and steal this relief money for themselves.
Around mid-march (as expected by the authorities), the hackers started distributing a link to a fake website resembling that of the government in a phishing campaign to gather data, using this data they requested the government for relief but changed the bank details to one in which they wanted the money deposited.
The Government of Germany acknowledged the attack after receiving 576 reports of fraud, following this, the official website was taken down on April 9. The German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that out of the 380,000 requests for aid 360,000 were approved out of which around 3,500 to 4,500 requests were made by the scammers. This scam has cost the Government an estimated €31 million or $34.25 million on the minimum and €100 million or $109 million on the maximum.
This incident shows how a lack of careful planning and safety measures can cause even countries to be scammed and robbed by Hackers, who are even ready to steal money meant to provide help in these testing times.
A police investigation has been launched to catch the criminals behind this scam.