Bank email scam warning

A SUFFOLK man who received a bogus bank e-mail requesting he submit his bank details on-line for security purposes, has urged people to be extra vigilant.

A SUFFOLK man who received a bogus bank e-mail requesting he submit his bank details on-line for security purposes, has urged people to be extra vigilant.

Robert Dunnett received the e-mail, which came complete with a Barclays Bank logo and contained a link to a web site.

After clicking on the link, he was asked to input his account details. At this point, Mr Dunnett became suspicious and telephoned Barclays.

He said: "When I went into my email account and saw the email, I read it through and instantly thought I should have a word with Barclays. I remembered seeing something like this on the television before."

After calling Barclays, Mr Dunnett, 69, was told they already knew of the e-mail scam.

He said: "They knew, but I wasn't ever told to be wary of this - I could have been clicking all of this stuff through to these people who could be taking money.

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"I think Barclays should have contacted all of their customers saying beware - just watch it, otherwise, they are giving these people carte blanche, saying go and do what you want."

However a spokesman from Barclays said they tried to warn as many customers as possible.

He said: "Anyone who uses our internet banking will be very aware that these sorts of things happen.

"We have an extensive programme of information on such scams, but sending an email would not be appropriate.

"Any customers defrauded are covered by our fraud guarantee. Our advice would be never divulge any information through e-mails.

"If you are unsure about it, contact us."

Mr Dunnett, from Main Road, Martlesham, said that he was always loathe to reveal any personal information on-line, but that some people might get caught out by the fraudsters.

He said: "There's always the possibility that someone in a hurry could give them their details.

"The fact that they send these e-mails says that someone must be giving out their information - some people are more gullible."

A spokeswoman from Suffolk's trading standards said that they were aware of the scam, known as "phishing", which surfaced about a year ago.

In Suffolk alone, there are now between eight and ten reports of this type a month and it has been estimated that by the end of 2004, high street banks had been forced to refund over £4.5million to around 2,000 victims. World-wide, the figure is estimated to be at just under $50billion.

The spokeswoman said: "These fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in how they target people and the emails they use.

"Con-men and hoaxers are always the first to take advantage of new technology and have no scruples defrauding local people of their savings.

"Our experience is that consumers who do call are already wise to this scam and just delete it. However, our advice is that nine times out of ten, it is a scam and consumers should check first with their bank for verification."

Trading standards are aware of scams such as this relating to several other major banks, including Citi Bank, Sun Terra, Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Woolwich.

If you are worried about this type of scam or any other similar scheme, contact Suffolk County Council's trading standards on 01473 584358.

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