According to IT security firm, Smarttech.ie, fake emails purporting to be from Irish banks have been on the rise over the last couple of weeks. Known as “phishing scams”, these fake emails appear to be legitimate and are aimed at tricking the customer into handing over personal or sensitive financial information to cyber criminals.
Ronan Murphy CEO of IT Security Company Smarttech.ie has warned that “There has been an increase in these types of phishing scams being reported to Smarttech.ie over the past several weeks and we would like to further warn the public as anyone can be a vulnerable target. These scams are not unique to Bank of Ireland and have been experience by all the major banks across the world. The cyber criminals involved are experts scam artists who operate with extreme precision, meaning this recent trend of increases is not a random occurrence.”
“One reason why there has been a spike in these phishing scams over the last few weeks is that many Irish people are abroad on their holidays and could be relying on their phone to read their emails. They may be less likely to spot these fake emails on the smaller screen or just let their guard down.” continued Ronan Murphy CEO of IT Security Company Smarttech.ie.
How it works?
In the image of the email received by a Bank of Ireland customer last night, the fake email tried to obtain the customers’ personal information by requesting them to click on a link and update their details. This common form of phishing is actually a hoax. The fraudsters attempt to lull the customer into a false sense of security by using an email address and email format which have the appearance of being from the real bank. If the customer had clicked on the link, they would have been taken to a webpage run the hackers, but which would have had the appearance of being from the bank. Once the hackers have your personal information, in a short time, the information is either sold onto someone else or used for fraudulent transactions. Another element to the scam is that by clicking on the bogus link, malware can be secretly installed onto the users’ computer, which allows the hacker to track and record a person’s activities.
How to spot a fake email
The quickest way to spot a scam email from a bank is its very existence. A bank will never send a customer an email requesting personal or financial information. Other tell-tale signs that it is a fake email is that it contains spelling mistakes. This is because, in many cases, English is not the first language of the fraudsters. As in the image of the email received by the Bank of Ireland customer, there are simple spelling mistakes in the senders’ email address and in the body of the text.
What to do if you have received a fake email?
Speaking about what to do if you have received a suspicious email from a bank, Ronan Murphy, CEO of IT Security Company Smarttech.ie said that “the first thing to do is never reply to it. Do not open it or click on any links in it, and never disclose any personal information to the sender. Most banks have special designated teams that deal with these fake emails, and have an email address to which the fake emails can be forwarded. If you have inadvertently clicked on a link in one of these emails, or you still have concerns about the security of your bank account, you should contact your bank as soon as possible and alert them to any potential danger. Finally, the best way to make sure that your computer has not been compromised with any malware is to regularly run your anti-virus software including any updates.”