Financial regulator issues
‘phishing’ warning

15 Feb 2006

The Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA) has reiterated its warning to consumers to protect their personal financial information against online fraudsters after receiving details recently about a fraudulent website pretending to be an Irish bank.

IFSRA said that in recent days it was notified of a fraudulent website asking consumers for their banking PIN and other account information. “The website is using a name which consumers could confuse with a well-known Irish bank,” it said in a statement.

It said internet fraudsters commonly attempt to obtain personal bank account information directly from consumers. It added that many fraudsters attempt to obtain information from consumers using email — a practice known as ‘phishing’ — and said it received reports from consumers who have been contacted by post or who have received persistent phone calls.

IFSRA added that any of these approaches can appear to come from well-known banks or credit card companies. The fraudulent emails attempt to persuade consumers to disclose their bank account numbers, credit card numbers, PIN numbers and in some cases internet banking registration details.

A spokesperson for the Financial Regulator warned consumers to be vigilant. “It is vital that people continue to safeguard their personal financial information. Bogus web addresses and emails may look similar to your own bank or credit card company address but they will usually ask you for your PIN or other account details. Be very cautious. Your bank would never ask you to reveal your PIN over the internet.”

In addition to the scams that purport to have come from well-known financial institutions, others may claim you are a winner in a foreign state lottery or have been issued valuable shares in a company. All these communications have one thing in common: they are aimed at obtaining your bank account details. “You should never give your bank details out to a company with whom you have had no previous dealings. If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is”, the spokesperson added.

By John Kennedy