Feeds

NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

SPF update fail junks critical bank communications

High performance access to file storage

NatWest customers should watch out for lost credit card statements as an IT cockup has been blamed for one Register reader getting smacked with a late payment fee.

A reader told The Reg how he was fined by NatWest for missing the regular payment on his credit card.

The reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, receives his NatWest statements via email. January’s statement was dispatched as usual but wasn’t received, so our reader missed his payment.

Instead, the statement was caught in the spam filters of his email service provider, Fluent.

Both Fluent and our reader blamed the errant email on fiddling within NatWest’s email servers that resulted in the email being logged as spam.

Specifically, they claim NatWest’s techies had changed the IP address of the mail servers that dispatch credit card statements and failed to also update their domain servers’ Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records.

SPF is a policy framework used to protect against spam by detecting email spoofing.

A domain will declare attributes that describe their emails and declare them as an SPF record that is published to the domain name system. An SPF client program queries the SPF record to confirm the email has come from an authorised source. Google, Microsoft and other major email providers all recognise SPF.

Fluent's founding director Jonathan Gilpin, also a Reg reader, said his records indicate the IP addresses on NatWest servers changed on December 15, from 194.150.182.32 to 194.150.182.18. He discovered the change on January 2 and contacted NatWest’s customer support to warn them they hadn't updated their SPF records.

Gilpin said he was transferred to a DNS team who logged the problem.

On January 10 he received an email response from NatWest’s GIS Technology Services saying they could not act on the DNS problem because he’s an outsider. According to their email, seen by The Reg, the problem could only be fixed if he contacted the business and they would then escalate it. “Once this goes through the channels they have suggested we will be able to resolve this,” he was told.

The Reg contacted NatWest to find out the cause of the glitch, why it had taken so long to fix and whether it would take any steps to overhaul its procedures.

NatWest, though, was unable to respond beyond saying it does not use SPF.

Our reader has now urged fellow NatWest customers to check they received their credit card reminder emails for December and early January.

“If they didn't receive the reminder emails during this time, they should double-check that they are receiving them now,” he said.

“The fee itself was a comparatively minor annoyance, but irritating nonetheless as I normally pay off my credit card shortly after receiving the reminder from the online banking system. The real annoyance was NatWest's refusal to deal with the problem.” ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.