BoI shuts fake site after phishing attack

18 Mar 2005

A phishing website masquerading as Bank of Ireland’s (BoI) online personal banking service has been shut down following news of an email scam that emerged this morning.

Earlier today the financial institution was alerted that a fraudulent email was being sent to Irish users, posing as a genuine communication from BoI or its banking website The message directs recipients to a lookalike site where they are asked to submit personal banking information.

BoI issued a statement this morning to alert users that such emails had been discovered and to warn recipients not to disclose any of their financial details. It has since collaborated with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to have the fake website shut down.

BoI confirmed that it did not send the messages and emphasised that it never asks for sensitive data in this way. “We would never request customer information in this manner and if you receive this kind of email, you can take it that it’s not for real,” said Anne Mathews, BoI’s media relations manager. “Under no circumstance should anyone logon to this spurious site or enter any details.”

The email scam, as with others of its type, is indiscriminately sent so that many people who receive the message may not even be BoI customers. Mathews confirmed that the senders of the email did not have access to the bank’s customer list.

The fraudulent email asked recipients to log on to the site to update their information as it claimed there had been a security breach on BoI’s website. However, Mathews confirmed that none of the bank’s systems have been compromised and that there had been no security breach of any BoI website.

BoI urged recipients to ignore any such emails but anyone who may have responded to these messages in good faith is urged to contact BoI immediately at 1890 365 365 or from outside the Republic of Ireland at +353 1 4622365.

BoI joins Allied Irish Bank and MBNA as Irish financial institutions that have been targeted as over the past year as part of these scams. Detective Inspector Paul Gillen, head of the Computer Crime Unit at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, recently confirmed to that some Irish people have been defrauded of money as a result of previous phishing attacks.
This type of email fraud is increasing in scope and sophistication all the time. According to figures released earlier this month by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the volume phishing emails rose by 42pc for the month of January.

By Gordon Smith