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Banks get tough on online scams

22 October 2003
The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), The British Bankers' Association (BBA) and the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) have joined forces to produce safety guidelines for consumers against internet fraudsters.

The advice was prompted by a series of two-tiered email scams over the past two months. The scams involved sending emails to UK customers claiming to be the bank and asking them to "re-register" or "reactivate" their accounts at a lookalike bank website.

Typically, the fraudsters behind these "phishing" scams are located outside the UK and so must transfer money from victims' accounts through a UK intermediary.

Part two of the scam involves sending out spam emails to people offering them the chance to make easy money acting as a UK agent for business overseas. Consumers agreeing to transfer funds can then find themselves investigated by the police.

"The message is - don't allow yourself to be duped. Remember, if an unsolicited money-making offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is," warned Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds, head of the UK's NHCTU.

David Lennox, director, fraud & physical security at the British Bankers' Association (BBA), added: "The threats in the online world are the same as in the offline world. While these types of fraud have always been with us, the Internet is now being used as the preferred medium for attempting to carry them out".

Tips given for staying safe online include knowing who you are dealing with, keeping passwords and pins safe, keeping your PC secure and never go to your bank's website via a link.