Frankfurt / Freiburg (dpa) - Cooperative banks take countermeasures against fraudulent transfers to accounts of direct banks such as N26 or Fidor.

"Volksbank Freiburg has temporarily stopped its payment transactions with the direct banks N26, Fidor, Revolut, bunq, Solarisbank due to an increase in online banking fraud", said a spokesman for Volksbank on request.

"The background is that these banks are currently being used by alleged fraudsters as a target account for alleged crimes because of simple identification procedures such as photo identification - outside of Germany -", the spokesman said. At least on this Tuesday, the Volksbank wants their systems technically adjusted so that the lock can be lifted again.

Currently there is "an increased number of cases of fraud in online banking throughout Germany," the cooperative institute explained to its nearly 140,000 private and corporate clients.

Also at the Volksbank Rottweil N26 and Fidor are, according to the head of the institute Henry Rauner, who recently spoke with the "Handelsblatt", "still on the black list" - transfers with these targets would be examined separately. Only if the customer confirms the correctness on demand, the money will be released. According to Rauners, employees of his institute were able to prevent fraudulent transactions with 42,000 customers in two or three cases.

A gateway for attacks on customer accounts at the Volksbank Freiburg was - as in previous cases in other institutions - the so-called mTAN or mobileTAN procedure. Here, the TAN necessary for transfers by SMS is sent to a previously stored mobile phone number. Criminals first access the online banking access data - such as phishing emails or malicious programs that are introduced to the customer's computer. Then they come to the TANs over replacement SIM cards, which they sneak up with wrong information with the portable radio offerer.

Above all, the high level of professionalism and the speed with which criminals gained access to customer funds surprised Volksbank Freiburg. "Once the scammers have successfully gained access to online banking and a TAN process, the injunctions will take place in minutes," the spokesperson said. If the fraud occurs, the money is usually already transferred abroad or exchanged into digital currencies like Bitcoin.

A spokeswoman for the Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR) emphasized: "If there is a fraud in online banking, customers will not be harmed, they will get their money back." The prerequisite is that customers carefully with sensitive data such as PIN (PIN ) and TAN.

N26 said on demand that the company would implement "money laundering prevention measures" like all other banks. "As soon as we hear that other banks are stopping individual transactions on N26, we will contact the bank concerned as soon as possible to resolve the problem. We want to ensure that our customers can participate smoothly in payment transactions. »

A spokesperson for Fidor Bank said: "Anyone who opens an account with Fidor Bank is going through the forgery-proof Video-Ident procedure. Even if you want to open an account from abroad, you have to go through this procedure. It is therefore unlikely that fraudsters hold such accounts and have stolen money transferred to where they could easily be identified. "

Volksbank boss Rauner, however, can not shake off the impression that financial start-ups ("fintechs") facilitate fraud for business. "The identity obligations may not be handled as strictly and in the money laundering area, the systems may not be on the same level as the regulators would like," says Rauner.

In May, the Financial Regulator ordered Bafin N26 to remedy deficiencies in money laundering and terrorist financing measures. For example, the App Bank was required to re-identify some existing customers and process backlogs in suspicious transactions.

Volksbank Freiburg

Facts and figures about Volksbank Freiburg

Phishing radar of the consumer center North Rhine-Westphalia

List of Volksbanks and Raiffeisenbanks in Germany (end of 2018)

Press page N26

Press page Fidor

Bafin message to N26