Nationwide wave of fraud with forged commercial register invoices

February 8, 2023

The Hamburg District Court warns of a new wave of fraud with fake court cost invoices after entries in the commercial register. In the last few days, numerous recipients of fake invoices have come forward, which are apparently currently being sent en masse to companies all over Germany. Today alone, the district court received about 60 returns of undeliverable mailings of this kind.

The fakes (example attached) bear a state coat of arms with the heading “Amtsgericht” and refer to the announcement of a recent entry in the commercial register. Under a fictitious name of fees, several hundred euros are demanded, which are to be transferred to the “commercial register” to an account with a Lithuanian IBAN. A “central payment office” with a Hamburg postcode is stated as the sender of the invoice, which causes many recipients to make enquiries at the Hamburg district court.

Companies and associations that receive invoices after filing for registration in the commercial or association register should check their contents carefully. Often the disproportionate amount of the demanded sum alone provides a reliable indication that the invoice cannot come from the court. The fees for the initial registration of a GmbH, for example, are around € 200.00, the fees for the registration of an amended GmbH articles of association are around € 93.00. In addition, attention should be paid to the exact designation of the sender of the invoice and the payee as well as to the account details given: Invoices for costs for registration in a register kept at the Hamburg Local Court and for publication are issued by the Hamburg Judicial Cashier’s Office. The payee is then the “Justizkasse Hamburg” with a German account number (country code: “DE”) at the Bundesbank, Hamburg branch. The same applies to cost accounts of other federal states. There is no central payment office of the federal states in Hamburg.

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