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Fraudsters phish for NatWest clients with 'Stephen Hester' email

Web link snare asks for personal info

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NatWest customers are being targeted by a run of fake "phishing" emails exploiting the recent disruption in the bank's services, Action Fraud warns.

The fraudulent electronic messages offer prospective marks access to their accounts in exchange for personal information. In reality the opportunistic scam is purely designed to extract personal information to later extract money from compromised accounts or for other forms of ID theft.

"One of the phishing emails, purporting to be from Stephen Hester, the head of RBS, apologises for the problems at RBS and says a 'security upgrade' requires [customers] to update their information," Action Fraud explains.

"But if customers follow the web link in the email, they are taken to an 'incredibly realistic' replica of the NatWest website.

"If they do enter their account details on the fake site, the fraudsters will be able to log in to their account and steal all their money. There is also a risk that your identity could be compromised."

Alan Woodward, a 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.

"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."

Recipients of the NatWest phishing email are advised to ignore it and on no account to open attachments or enter personal details after following links from such emails. ®

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