Internet scammers are once again targeting citizens in the Czech Republic with fake government websites. The websites in question are designed to mimic those of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MPSV) and are used by criminals to exploit people who may be short on funds and need social benefits. The scammers have also been found to be exploiting the authority of the presidential office.
The problem of fake MPSV websites has been ongoing since mid-2020 when many people were struggling with soaring energy prices and looking for ways to apply for social benefits. Since then, the websites have been appearing in waves.
Speaking on the issue, Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said: “Unfortunately, scammers have reappeared who are trying to imitate the ministry’s website, sending out fake SMS and emails. Only www.mpsv.cz is the official domain. Any messages with a different link are fake. They usually try to attract people with a bombastic promise of entitlement to some form of financial support. Please do not respond to these messages and do not click on the links.”
Jurečka emphasized that anyone wanting to verify information should use the official government website. “In addition to all the information, there is also an online assistant and important contacts available,” he said.
According to the National Cyber and Information Security Agency, scammers send out phishing SMS messages with links to their fake websites. These links often imitate the domains of state institutions, such as the MPSV. For example, domains like ceska-mpsv.cz, mpsv-egov.online, or mpsv.info are created to deceive users. The only safe domain is mpsv.cz.
Once users click on the link, they are redirected to a fake website that imitates the institution’s website and allows them to log in via their bank identity. When a user logs in using their bank identity, the attackers can use their information to access their bank account. There is also a real possibility that these details can be resold.
The scammers have also been redirecting users to other pages that ask for payment card details. Once the user enters their details, the attackers can use them to extract financial resources through a selected payment gateway.
The National Cyber and Information Security Agency has urged users to double-check that they access the correct website before entering personal information. The ministry has repeatedly warned citizens about text messages, emails, and fake websites.
“They offer fraudulent forms for housing subsidies and encourage users to log in with their bank identity. However, this is a fraud, and people can lose money in their accounts,” said a ministry representative.
It has been reported that scammers create dozens of these websites monthly. Other institutions have also warned Czech citizens about internet fraudsters misusing official authorities.
In light of these events, it is essential to stay vigilant and verify the authenticity of any website that asks for personal or sensitive information. It is important to note that government institutions never ask for sensitive information via email or text.