The fact that fraudsters are trying to rob citizens of their money by sending SMS messages is nothing new. But now there is a new scam in which mobile phone users receive an SMS that supposedly comes from the Federal Ministry of Finance. There are SMS with different formulations.
One says something like: "You still have to receive a contribution of 254.33. Verify yourself and receive the amount via: //ruckkehr-de.biz". Another wording is: "The government has decided that you will receive a refund of €278.35. Click here to receive payment." According to the State Criminal Police Office of Lower Saxony, other website names/spellings/short links/text modules (also with https) are conceivable.
If you call up the link contained in the SMS, a page opens where you have to confirm that you are not a robot but a human being. If you then click on "Submit", a fake website opens that is supposed to show the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance. The unknown perpetrators installed a logo with the federal eagle, the colors of Germany and the words "Federal Ministry of Finance". Various banks that are represented in Germany are also linked. There, the victims of the SMS fraud should then register in their bank's banking app. If you follow the instructions, you will get to a phishing page, which is supposed to represent the website of the respective bank.
However, the State Criminal Police Office of Lower Saxony expressly warns: "This SMS does not come from the Federal Ministry of Finance." Instead, fraudsters try to encourage recipients to enter their bank details in times of high energy prices. The Federal Ministry of Finance also warns of the phishing SMS on its website: "Unknown people are currently pretending to be the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) via SMS. If you receive such an SMS, please do not click on the links and do not reply." The Thuringian Ministry of Finance also warned last week about the SMS with the designation "tax credit".
Anyone who has received such a fraudulent SMS should therefore not follow the steps in it under any circumstances. If you just opened the text message, nothing has happened. It looks different, however, if you have clicked on the included link. In such a case, the State Criminal Police Office of Lower Saxony recommends checking the device with up-to-date anti-virus software as a precaution. Because it is quite possible that additional malware was loaded in the background. However, if you clicked through further and entered your bank details, you should immediately inform your bank about the incident. It is important to have your online banking blocked and to apply for new access. You should then report it to the police.
Sources: Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office, Federal Ministry of Finance, Thuringia Ministry of Finance