Avoid this banking scam
A colleague of mine recently forwarded a scam email on to me purporting to be from Santander, the Spanish owner of Abbey and, more recently, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.
In case you didn’t know, Santander recently announced it is rebranding its UK banking arm, meaning the loss of the individual banks’ names by 2010, in a move that will end nearly 500 years of building society history and change the face of the high street.
While Santander says the move won’t have a negative impact on its 25 million UK customers, it is still causing some confusion.
I have both my mortgage and cash ISA with Alliance & Leicester, and I’m still getting my head around the notion that from next year I will have to refer to this bank as Santander. It’s not a big thing or even a problem, but it’s a change, something many of us harbour an irrational secret fear of.
No wonder that scammers are getting in on the act. The email sent to me (read it below) referred to the rebrand and requested Alliance & Leicester customers follow a link within the email to update their account.
I struggle to recall how many times I have advised Moneywise readers to delete emails claiming to be from banks and providing click-through links. Banks themselves say they will never contact customers requesting information in this way.
Even so, I had to check with Abbey’s press office that this really was a scam email. Of course, it confirmed it was a fake – but it shows that, sometimes, our fear of missing out or failing to do something important leaves us at risk of falling victim to scammers.
It can be hard to understand sometimes how people get tricked. We’ve all shaken our heads in disbelief after reading stories about people losing thousands of pounds in seemingly obvious scams. But that’s how fraudsters work – contact as many people as possible and you’ve got a good chance of finding someone who doubts their instincts and falls for your lies.
There is, of course, a massive stigma attached to falling victim to scam, which is why it is believed many people never report their losses to the police.
But being vigilant can sometimes feel like an overreaction. I have several friends who think it’s hilarious that I make several checks behind me before entering my PIN at a cash point – they see it as a sign that I am distrusting and cynical, whereas my view is ‘better safe than sorry’.
I would always prefer to look on the bright side of life, and see the good in other people rather than the bad. Taking a cynical approach leaves a bad taste in my mouth a lot of time but if it means keeping my money safe I’ll just have to stomach it.
If you've recieved a dodgy email, paste it in the comment box below and warn others about what the fraudsters are up to.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Alliance & Leicester Group, Now part of Santander Group.
You are now part of one of the world's most successful banks. Santander is first bank in the Eurozone by market capitalization, and fifth in the world by profits with over 70 million
customers in 40 countries. We are changing our name from Alliance & Leicester Group to Santander Group.
You are kindly advised to follow the instructions below to update your
Please Click Here To Start [I've removed this link as it leads to a fake website]
Signature of Emilio Botin