PhishingAuthorities in North Rhine-Westphalia, a province in western Germany, have lost tens of millions of euros after failing to set up a secure website to distribute emergency funding for COVID 19.
Cybercriminals managed to create a copy of the official website operated by the Ministry of Finance for the distribution of financial assistance due to unemployment with COVID-19.
Scammers started advertising her Phishing email campaign, and apparently enticed several users. They then applied for state aid from the actual users, but replaced the bank account to which the money was to be sent.
The program lasted from mid-March until April 9, when the Ministry of Finance realized the fraud, suspended payments and downloaded its website.
Before the page went down, NRW police said they had received 576 official fraud reports for this scam, according to German new technology website Heise this week.
The German newspaper Handelsblatt reported also that the government had received more than 380.000 requests for state aid due to the coronavirus, agreeing to make payments in 360.000 cases.
NRW authorities said between 3.500 and 4.000 funding applications had been submitted, German television station Tagesschau reported on Wednesday.
Payments ranged from 9.000 euros for self-employed professionals to up to 25.000 euros for companies with more than 50 employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Based on a rough estimate, the NRW authorities are believed to have lost out on this Phishing attack from 31,5 million to 100 million, from money sent to the wrong accounts.