The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has joined forces with two banking bodies to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness of e-mail fraud scams.
The move, backed by the Association for Payment Clearing Services and the British Bankers’ Association, follows a spate of scams which have hit banks including Barclays and Lloyds TSB in the past two months.
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The scam involves sending e-mails to banking customers requesting them to send personal financial information via a link to a spoofed website.
The NHCTU said that because those behind the scams are typically located outside the UK and therefore unable to transfer money directly out of the victims’ online accounts, they need a UK intermediary.
This has resulted in fraudsters attempting a second scam, by offering people the chance to make money by acting as a UK agent for an overseas business.
Although the early indications are that very few people have been successfully duped, Apacs, the BBA and the NHCTU have published a checklist that businesses can make available to customers.
It includes advice such as always accessing your internet bank via a browser, keeping pers-onal information secret and using up-to-date anti-virus software.
David Lennox, director of fraud and physical security at the BBA, said the initiative should help to combat a growing trend.
"The threats in the online world are the same as in the offline world," he said.
"These types of fraud have always been with us, but the internet is now being used as the preferred medium for attempting to carry them out."
Companies should also be taking measures to counter the rise of e-mail fraud scams, said Len Hynds, head of the NHCTU.