Westpac phishing victim numbers drop

Phishing complaints from Westpac customers have "massively" declined since the height of the hoax last year, according to the bank. Julian Quinn, a Westpac spokesperson, said most of the calls they get from customers today are information regarding the latest hoax e-mail and associated Web site they have just received.

Phishing complaints from Westpac customers have "massively" declined since the height of the hoax last year, according to the bank.

Julian Quinn, a Westpac spokesperson, said most of the calls they get from customers today are information regarding the latest hoax e-mail and associated Web site they have just received.

"We are finding that customers are not contacting us as often as they used to and most of them are quite aware already of the scam that's victimising other banks as well," Quinn said.

"Most people call us saying they just got another one of those hoax e-mails and asking if we are aware of it already, which is quite different from the phone calls we used to get," Quinn added.

Westpac have increased notices to spread awareness about the hoax e-mails and associated Web sites. In their telephone messages, Web site and national advertising, Wespac emphasises that the company will not ask customers to change their personal accounts or log in details via e-mail. The high level of community awareness has paid off, the bank claims, with a massive drop of the number of victims.

"We are cooperating with the police and agencies with overseas jurisdiction to identify these scammers and shut them down. When we find a hoax Westpac Web site, we contact the ISP of the site and contact the central police. We also have an arrangement with Australian telecommunications companies to lock the backbone of these sites," said Quinn.

Westpac warns customers of a new round of phishing scams littering customer' e-mails. The latest hoax e-mails tells customers that Westpac has "just installed a new security system which will help customers avoid frequently fraud transactions and keep their investments in safety."

The hoax e-mail goes on to say "due to this technical update we are insisting our clients to verify reactivate their accounts." They are then asked to click on the link https://olb.westpac.com.au/ to fill out an account verification form. At the end of the e-mail, a notice says "This email is for notification only. To contact us, please log into your account and send a Bank Mail."

At the moment, the police are already investigating a number of suspected e-scammers behind the hoax e-mails and Web sites in Australia.