In the age of digitalisation, fraudulent transactions and attempts to defraud have become increasingly common. In particular, International Bank Account Number (IBAN) fraud is a type of fraud that has increased in recent years. This comprehensive blog post will give you an in-depth look at IBAN fraud, how you can protect yourself from such fraudulent transactions and what legal steps you can take to protect yourself and your money.

What is IBAN fraud and how does it work?

IBAN fraud is a form of fraud in which the fraudsters try to obtain personal bank details or money by pretending to be a legitimate bank transaction. This is usually done by sending fake emails, text messages or phone calls in which the fraudsters pretend to be bank employees or other trustworthy people and trick victims into revealing their IBAN and other personal information or transferring money to fraudulent accounts.

Some common scams used in IBAN fraud are:

  • Phishing – Fraudsters send fake emails or text messages purporting to be from banks or other trusted institutions to trick recipients into revealing their IBAN or other personal information.
  • Vishing – Fraudsters make phone calls posing as bank employees or other trusted individuals to trick victims into revealing their IBAN or conducting fraudulent transactions.
  • Manipulation of payment instructions – fraudsters alter the payment information in invoices, contracts or other documents to divert payments to their own fraudulent accounts.

How to recognise fraudulent transactions and protect yourself from IBAN fraud?

To protect yourself from IBAN fraud, it is important to be vigilant and recognise the signs of fraudulent transactions. Here are some tips on how to recognise fraudulent transactions and protect yourself from IBAN fraud:

  • Be wary of emails, text messages or calls asking for your bank details, especially if they are unexpected or put pressure on you to take immediate action.
  • Check the sender’s email address or phone number to make sure they are genuine and actually from your bank or another trusted institution.
  • Be suspicious of payment instructions that have been suddenly changed or where the bank details seem unusual. Make sure the payment information is correct before making a transaction.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly to better protect your bank accounts and personal information.
  • Find out about the security measures your bank offers, such as two-factor authentication or suspicious transaction notifications, and use these options to better protect your account.

Legal action in case of IBAN fraud

If you have been a victim of IBAN fraud or suspect fraudulent transactions, it is important to act quickly and take legal action to recover your money and hold the fraudsters accountable. Here are some essential steps you should take if you have been affected by IBAN fraud:

  • Contact your bank immediately to report and possibly stop or reverse the transaction. The quicker you act, the greater the chance that your money can be saved.
  • File a report with the police to officially report the fraud and start an investigation.
  • Contact an experienced lawyer who specialises in banking and fraud law for professional assistance and advice in prosecuting the fraudsters and recovering your money.
  • Keep all relevant information and communications relating to the fraud, including emails, text messages, phone call records and bank receipts, to be used as evidence in legal proceedings.

Recent court rulings on IBAN fraud

There are several recent court rulings related to IBAN fraud that are important precedents for dealing with such cases. Some of these judgments are:

Case A: A German court sentenced a man to four years and six months imprisonment for 18 counts of fraud in which he tricked victims into transferring money to fraudulent accounts by impersonating a bank employee.

Case B: Another German court sentenced a man to a suspended sentence of two years for fraud after he posed as a bank employee and tricked victims into revealing their IBAN and other personal information, which he then used for fraudulent transactions.

Case C: An Austrian court ruled in favour of a victim of IBAN fraud and ordered the bank to refund the lost money because it had not sufficiently checked whether the IBAN provided actually belonged to the account holder indicated.

Case D: A Dutch court sentenced a man to three years in prison for fraud after he used fake emails and phone calls to trick victims into transferring money to fraudulent accounts.

These judgements show that courts in different countries take IBAN fraud seriously and are prepared to hold both fraudsters and banks accountable if adequate security measures have not been followed.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about IBAN fraud

Is it dangerous to give out my IBAN?

Although the IBAN by itself is usually not sufficient to carry out fraudulent transactions, in combination with other personal information, such as your name, address or date of birth, it can enable fraudsters to impersonate you and carry out fraudulent transactions. Therefore, it is important to share your IBAN and other personal information only with trusted individuals and institutions and to be vigilant to prevent fraud.

What can I do if I have accidentally given my IBAN to fraudsters?

If you fear that you have given your IBAN to fraudsters, you should immediately contact your bank to inform them of the situation and take possible protective measures such as blocking your account or monitoring suspicious transactions. It is also advisable to inform the police and, if necessary, a lawyer in order to take legal action against the fraudsters.

How can I check whether an IBAN is genuine?

To check the authenticity of an IBAN, you can use an IBAN calculator or validator available on the internet. These tools check the structure of the IBAN to ensure that it complies with international standards. Note, however, that these tools do not check whether the IBAN actually belongs to a specific account holder. To clarify this, you should contact your bank directly and ask them to check the information for you.

Can my bank get my money back if I have been a victim of IBAN fraud?

The chances of getting your money back depend on various factors, such as how quickly you report the fraud, your bank’s security measures and the laws of your country. In some cases, banks can reverse fraudulent transactions or recover the amount if you report the fraud quickly and the bank takes the necessary steps. It is important to act immediately and report your case to both your bank and the relevant law enforcement authorities to have the best chance of getting a refund.

Protect yourself from IBAN fraud

IBAN fraud is a growing threat in the digital world, and it’s important to be vigilant to protect yourself and your money from fraudulent transactions. By recognising the signs of fraud, keeping your personal information safe and acting immediately on suspicious activity, you can reduce the risk of IBAN fraud and protect yourself from financial loss. However, if you do fall victim to IBAN fraud, it is crucial to take legal action quickly and enlist the support of experienced lawyers and law enforcement agencies to hold the fraudsters accountable and recover your money.