You may have noticed the current spate of scammer emails purporting to be from this or that bank and saying "Please re-enter your personal details at our Web site for security purposes". The site is nothing to do with the institution in question, of course: just one set up with stolen graphics and disgused URLs to look legit.Any details you enter will be immediately sent off to the Tongan Mafia or whoever, and your bank account will never be the same again.
This week's effort is aimed at Lloyds TSB customers. One of the first to spot it is long-term friend of the Diary and clued-up chap Adrian Mars: pausing only to check that it is indeed utterly fraudulent, he leaps on the blower to Bank HQ to make sure they know about it. Alas, the dastardly thieves have had the foresight to send out their spam of Satan after normal banking hours -- is there no end to their evil genius? -- and thus the only customer phone that Lloyds TSB is answering is the card loss number. The bloke at the end of that knows nothing about email scams, doesn't want to know about email scams and can make no helpful suggestions beyond "please call back in the morning".
Undaunted, Adrian phones the bank's PR. "So, what do you do about email fraud?" he asks. "Ahh... crack teams... immediate response... hotline to Scotland Yard... action taken in microseconds...." says confident PR mate. "No, not really." says Ade. "You've been under attack for a couple of hours now, which you don't know 'cos there's nobody I can tell." "Erumahum...." says PR man. "I'll get back to you."
Three minutes later, and Ping! Adrian has mail. Adrian has mail from deep inside Lloyd TSB with a very impressive cc list, saying "Please send us the dodgy email ASAP." Which he does... only to get it back moments later. Lloyd's anti-spam filters have spotted some of the tricks used by the scammers in their HTML, and roundly rejected Ade's missive and the attached specimen. You can't phone 'em in, you can't email 'em in -- it has to be said, the company's very good at keeping out the bad news.
Needless to say, this is swiftly sorted. Lloyds TSB eventually closes down the fake site, Adrian gets on Sky News at 7:30 in the morning (tee hee) to bask in the limelight of doing the right thing, and the ramparts of commerce repel another set of horned invaders. But if it wasn't for those darned kids, eh?