The Barclays email scam - boos and cheers, sort of...

Shouldn't everybody know better than this?
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor on

Shouldn't everybody know better than this?

The latest cyber-scam to have taken on a high profile, at least for many net users in the UK, is a faked email, supposedly from Barclays Bank. It asks recipients to go through to a website which then 'phishes', as they say, for personal information such as account numbers and passwords. We mention the UK because it can only be for the familiarity of the Barclays brand that this latest con has grabbed any headlines. The BBC and other media outlets have spoken in scary tones about how poor internet users might be duped. Of course the reality is that similar tricks have been used for some time. Past emails have pretended to be from AOL, Citibank, PayPal and others. So boo to all those who think this is suddenly news. Next we'll be hearing from the crowd that seem to think the internet invented confidence tricks. But cheers, of a sort, to Barclays. The bank has handled this latest 'scare' in textbook fashion. It has calmed some 400 hundred customers and non-customers that have worriedly made enquiries, worked with the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, and temporarily capped how much can be transferred from online accounts. The fake websites are now either gone or, in one case, frozen and being investigated. However, this publication's praise is tempered by the knowledge that consumers really shouldn't be caught out. Just as news outfits shouldn't be duped into thinking this is the next great story, so too net users should now be savvy to the tell-tale signs of an email hoax - the shoddy presentation and spelling, unreasonable requests and not-quite-right branding. Of course, Barclays is being decent to those few who may have been taken in and it would be wrong to encourage any organisation to hang such victims out to dry. But given any losses incurred ultimately get passed back to other customers, it is once again time to start calling for more education on what to look out for. This has been a tiny contribution to that ongoing effort.
Editorial standards