Online banking fraud at all-time high in Germany

Online banking fraud at all-time high in Germany
Photo: DPA
Victims of internet password fraud rose significantly in the last year, with so-called online "phishing" up by 25 percent, the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) reported on Tuesday.

Fraudsters skimmed €19 million from internet bank account users in more than 4,100 incidents last year.

“Password theft has reached an unsurpassed high point due to ever-more sophisticated fraud techniques,” said BITKOM chairman Dieter Kempf.

But numbers for 2008 may allow for a trend reversal. “The data for the first part of the year lead us to expect that the number of victims will fall considerably,” he said.

BITKOM reports that fraud methods have gotten more efficient. Internet imposters forgoing typical phishing emails that lead to false bank websites – the organization estimates that now at least three of four crimes stem from Trojan horse programs sent via email. These programs record passwords and secretly forward the information to the hackers.

Another method secretly transfers an online bank user to a false website, BITKOM said.

BITKOM represents more than 1,200 technology, telecommunications and new media companies in Germany.