NatWest problems: fraudsters target customersPhishing emails promise NatWest account access

27 June 2012

Following technical problems that hit millions of NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank customers last week, many are now being targeted by fraudsters.

Fake 'phishing' emails promise them access to their account if they reveal their personal information, but are in fact used by fraudsters to steal their cash and their identity. Action Fraud is warning NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank customers to be wary of emails purporting to be from the bank. One scam phishing email, claiming to be from RBS boss Stephen Hester, apologises for the problems at RBS and says a 'security upgrade' requires the recipient to update their information.

If customers follow the web link in the phishing email, they are taken to an 'incredibly realistic' replica of the NatWest website. If they enter their account details on the fake site, the fraudsters will be able to log in and steal their money, as well as putting their identity at risk.

Alan Woodward, professor of computing at Surrey University, said: 'This shows how on-the-ball these opportunistic criminals are. Imagine not being able to access your bank account and then getting one of these [emails].

'I specialise in security, but I could see myself thinking, "oh, it's from NatWest" and then clicking on the link, which takes you to an incredibly realistic website. Given the number of NatWest customers and the volume of emails that the scammers send, some people are going to fall for it, especially if they are desperate.'

What should I do if I receive a NatWest phishing email?

If you receive an email purporting to be from NatWest, delete it. Don't click on any links in the email or reply to the senders in any way. Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.

If you've already clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.

If you think you've fallen victim to identity fraud, contact your bank or card company as soon as you spot any sign of identity fraud and call the police to get a crime number. Make a note of all phone calls (the time, date and who you spoke to) and keep all correspondence.

For more tips and to keep yourself safe online, read our guide How to beat identity fraud.

More on this...

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  • How to beat identity fraud - how to protect yourself against ID fraud