Cybercrime & bank account fraud in Poland

Cybercrime in Poland

The dynamic development of information technologies, the progressive digitization of banking and services, as well as the increasing share of the Internet in correspondence with contractors, tax offices and public authorities, result in an increasing number of crimes committed using the virtual world.

Online crimes lead to multi-million losses in business and pose a threat to national security. If you or your business are the victim of a cybercrime, you should seek legal aid as soon as possible, as actions taken in a short time increase the chances of catching the perpetrator and recovering the property.

Types of cybercrimes

1. Hacking

Hacking consists in obtaining by a third party unlawful access to information or IT system, by connecting to a telecommunication network, breaking or bypassing the electronic or IT security measures.

Under Polish law, the crime of hacking is punishable by a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years.

2. Sniffing

Sniffing is a crime, which consists in the use of special software that allows the unlawful obtaining of information to which the perpetrator is not entitled. Confidential information is obtained through programs called sniffers that allow the interception of data, including passwords and user IDs.

Under Polish law, the crime of hacking is punishable by a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years.

3. IT data integrity breach

Destruction, damage, deletion or changing the record of essential information, as well as preventing or significantly hindering the authorized person to read it, is a crime punishable under Polish law by a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years.

However, the above actions taken against IT data system, as well as disrupting or preventing the automatic processing, collection or transmission of IT data is another crime punishable under Polish law by imprisonment of up to 3 years.

The above crimes usually concern the use of malicious software (viruses, trojans) to steal personal data, sharing them with third parties without the owner’s consent, and unauthorized use of them.

Typical bank account fraud crimes

1. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most used methods by hackers to obtain personal information that enables breaking into victims’ bank accounts. Usually, it is in the form of SMS or e-mail containing a link to a website that resembles the website of bank. The purpose of such a message is to extort bank account login and password, credit card number and direct access to the bank account.

Under Polish law, phishing is punishable by a prison sentence of 3 months to 5 years.

2. Skimming

Skimming is one of the most serious crimes in online banking. It involves the theft of data stored on a payment card by copying a magnetic stripe or chip data and then withdrawing money from it. The payment terminals or even ATMs, infected by cybercriminals, can be used as devices unlawfully copying data from credit cards.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Polish law, skimming is a combination of several crimes against the protection of information and property and is usually punishable by imprisonment.

Legal support to victims of cybercrimes in Poland

Cybercrimes are usually committed in order to extort or unlawfully seize funds accumulated on the bank account through the illegal use of electronic banking.

The victims of the cybercrimes are most often companies that make important financial transactions. Cybercriminals hack into IT systems, stealing vital data about the company and its contractors to use them to obtain financial benefit. Usually, they impersonate victim’s contractors and initiate business negotiations, misleading the victim as to the bank account number to which the payment shall be made in order to intercept funds.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals can quickly disperse or redirect the appropriated funds to other bank accounts, or withdraw them in cash, using substituted people, that provide their personal data or bank details. The identity of the real perpetrators is difficult to determine, therefore the most effective weapon is to immediately block a bank account or transfer of the money.

Legal support to victims bank account frauds

The blockade of a suspicious bank account or transaction may be performed by the bank on its own initiative or at the request of the prosecutor’s office. The blockade may effectively lead to the recovery of funds, provided that the victim will react immediately. It is necessary to gather proofs of a crime and notify the competent prosecutor’s office or Central Cybercrime Bureau before the money is distributed.

Expert team leader DKP Legal Michał Puk
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