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BoI customers fall victim to phishing scam

Scammers net €113,000

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Bank of Ireland customers have been hit by a new phishing scam, which has already cost some of its customers more than of €110,000.

The bank issued a security alert; however, the bulletin came too late for several BoI customers. In total, some €113,000 is believed to have been lost by account holders responding to the fake email.

One customer claims to have lost over €49,000 after inadvertently handing over bank details to a bogus website. Others reported losses from between €5,000 to €16,900.

However, the bank would not confirm any details of the reported losses, as it refuses to discuss individual cases. Gardai have launched an investigation into the fraud.

Phishing attacks attempt to fool internet users into revealing sensitive information, such as log on codes and passwords for online banking, using emails and websites that appear to be legitimate.

In a statement, the bank said: "Bank of Ireland takes internet fraud extremely seriously and works closely with the Gardai to close such sites immediately. All reported incidents where customers have responded to such an email are immediately investigated by Bank of Ireland and reported to the Gardai."

These measures may not be enough for the victims of the fraud. According to recent reports, BoI has refused to compensate its customers for the missing cash. It could now be facing a compensation claim from those hit by the losses, and a complaint has been made to the Ombudsman for Financial Services.

Bank of Ireland, like other financial institutions, is no stranger to phishing scams, and has previously warned customers that it does not ask for account details in such a way and that they should not give out confidential information, such as log-on details, to any website that requests it.

Other Irish institutions have been the target of phishing attacks in the past, including Ulster Bank and AIB. However, previous reports indicate that the success rate for the scammers was quite low. The financial institutions have attributed this to the high level of awareness of the dangers by customers.

Certainly, BoI is not the only bank to have been hit in recent weeks either; AIB has already issued an alert to its customers regarding a new phishing scam in the past few days, while online bank RaboDirect is also warning of a website masquerading as the log-in site for the bank. An email asking customers to update their details at the site has been doing the rounds.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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