The online bank N26 was increasingly exploited for criminal activities between May 2019 and July 2021: around 1,600 accounts were created by fraudsters to conduct illegal financial transactions. According to the Handelsblatt, the accounts are said to have been used for false online shops and fake accounts on Ebay.
Accordingly, there is a list available to the magazine on which a consumer advocate has been collecting information about the fake accounts for years, data on this would come from public sources and data leaks. N26 did not provide any information on individual accounts for data protection reasons, but according to the Gründerszene almost all of them were recorded and closed.
N26 used more often by scammers
As early as spring 2019, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the NDR had reported about 400 N26 accounts created abusively, with which money laundering was carried out in fake shops.
This year alone, more than 1,000 incorrect account numbers are said to have come to light. This can be explained by the flourishing online trade, the growth of which has accelerated due to the corona crisis. N26 hardly has any branches, which is why the identity check is usually carried out via video chat and could therefore be exploited by criminals more often. A survey of the State Criminal Police Offices shows that this is happening: In Brandenburg this year, 42 of a total of 362 cases of this type were associated with the N26, in Lower Saxony every tenth suspected money laundering report in 2019 related to the online bank.
N26 works with BaFin special representatives
In mid-May, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) asked the bank to further expand its anti-money laundering measures. In the course of this, N26 undertook, among other things, to optimize transaction monitoring in order to identify money laundering and fraud in online trading more quickly and to introduce additional security measures for identity verification. A special representative from Bafin was also sent, with whom the online bank wants to work closely and coordinate the implementation of the measures.