Online Scammers Respond to Events in the Czech Republic

Cybercriminals, predominantly foreign groups, are highly responsive to current events and situations in the Czech Republic. They manipulate their scams to trick unsuspecting individuals into surrendering their money. A prime example occurred this spring when police reported a surge of fraudulent SMS messages and emails. These communications aimed to extract people’s bank account information concerning the tax season, the payment of overpayments, or, conversely, the payment of arrears.

According to Václav Písecký, head of the cybercrime department of the Prague police, these scams affected hundreds of people across the republic and dozens in the capital. “These waves are irregular and go hand in hand with the tax season. So if we are approaching a tax obligation, such as property tax payment in May, fraudulent SMS messages of the type ‘you have an unpaid tax’ or conversely ‘you have an overpayment’ appeared beforehand,” Písecký explained to Novinky this week.

Scammers are well aware of the tax season, manipulating their messages to coincide with when the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ) pays out specific benefits or when the tax authorities return overpayments. Novinky’s editorial team captured several scam messages, including SMS messages posing as the ČSSZ and emails from foreign addresses claiming the recipient’s banking app was expiring.

Písecký advises people not to open links in these emails and SMS messages, especially from unknown foreign addresses or phone numbers.

In conclusion, cybercrime remains a significant issue in the Czech Republic, with criminals adapting their tactics to reflect current events and the political climate. Písecký warns that while most people delete these fraudulent messages, the number of victims still reaches the hundreds, with damages amounting to millions of crowns. Many of the main suspects are foreign criminals from Eastern Europe, with Czech citizens acting as accomplices, translating messages into Czech or withdrawing money in cash within the Czech Republic.