The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) published an urgent announcement “21.12.2020 | Topic Consumer protection: Warning regarding the website ‘otc-markets.eu’”. Regardless of the warning, the website is still active:
BaFin advises that the website “otc-markets.eu” does not belong to the US company OTC Markets Group Inc. “This is a case of identity theft committed by unknown perpetrators”, writes BaFin.
Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person to use their identity to commit fraud, such as making unauthorized transactions or purchases. Banks and financial service providers and their clients are popular victims. Identity theft is committed in many different ways and its victims are typically left with damage to their credit, finances, and reputation.
It is not only difficult to catch the perpetrators. Shutting down the website also requires complicated legal steps, if at all possible. For many months in 2017 and 2018, for example, there was also a doppelganger from Frankfurt-based ICF Bank AG. The original website of ICF BANK AG is https://www.icfbank.de/. Using popular search engines such as Google or Baidu, Chinese-speaking prospects and customers were taken to a website at this address https://www.icf-bank.com/zh-cn/imprint.asp that had nothing to do with the Frankfurt-based bank, but contained the same information on the regulatory authority aside from incorrect telephone numbers.
If a prospect or customer contacts a fake website and reveals his personal data, trusting the seriousness of the website, the victim enables a multitude of criminal offenses. Once identity thieves have the information they are looking for, they can ruin a person’s credit rating and the standing of other personal information.
The cases show that the new information and communication technologies also demand new answers to the question of evidence and credibility. One of the so far in Western countries unpopular responses of the People’s Republic of China to the challenges mentioned is the introduction of a social credit system.
Another less serious case is blog identity theft. For example, the blog www.everling.de was completely copied and advertised on another website. In this case, the perpetrators benefited from the advertising revenue. All texts, images, even the entire structure of the website were completely copied. The perpetrators benefited from generating advertising income without having to write texts themselves.