Phishing is a means by which scammers can trick people into sending personal and sensitive data, such as bank account numbers, to a scammer. This goal is achieved by the scammer sending fraudulent emails or on scam websites, where they pretend to be a legitimate business or reputable person, to their victim. Such phishing can be used for identity theft and other illegal means.
Alternatively, they send such phishing emails with attachments containing malware or ransomware to either damage the victim or hold them to ransom. Ransomware is a particular risk to businesses, which can face expensive interruptions to their activities should they fall victim to ransomware.
Under German law, phishing activity is prohibited due to several provisions within the German Criminal Code (StGB), including a specific reference to “phishing” under § 202b StGB:
Whoever, without being authorised to do so, intercepts data… which are not intended for them, either for themselves or another, by technical means from non-public data transmission or from an electromagnetic broadcast from a data processing facility incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine, unless the offence is subject to a more severe penalty under other provisions. Emphasis added.
More severe cases with imprisonment of up to five years can be implemented where “computer fraud” under § 263a StGB has occurred. Data espionage and handling stolen data can also result in prison sentences and fines under German law.
At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team uses leading IT forensics and other methods to pursue fraudsters and identify them. Our lawyers are experienced in conducting the necessary research and investigations. Once contacted, we will act quickly to ensure that they can mitigate any damage caused by the scam. Once we have identified the scammers, we will ensure that you are fully aware of your legal options and will oversee the legal case.