Phishing scams up 200%

The number of people falling victim to phishing scams has risen 200% in the first three months of 2008 as fraudsters find increasingly sophisticated ways to trick their way into your bank account.

There were more than 10,000 reported incidents of phishing during January to March this year, according to the UK payments association APACS.

Phishing is the name given to emails that claim to be from your bank but are actually sent by fraudsters. In most cases, the email includes a link to a fake website for a certain bank. The frausters hope that people will enter their personal security information, which they can then use to access your real online bank account.

APACS says that although the amount of cash lost to phishing criminals decreased in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, the number of scams out there has increased.

It also warns that almost one in three people don’t have any anti-spyware software on their computers, leaving them at risk from fake website scams.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, said: "Phishing scams are continuing to rise and they are becoming ever more sophisticated, which is why we want to remind people to remain wise to them.

“The advice is quite simple - just remember that your bank will never send you emails asking you to disclose PIN numbers, login details or complete passwords. If you receive an email of this nature you should delete it. If you think your details have been compromised you should contact your bank immediately.”

David Cresswell, director of communications at the Financial Ombudsman Service, added: "We've seen a significant spike in consumer concerns over phishing scams in recent months. This suggests large numbers of people are still receiving phishing emails and not knowing what they are or whether they should respond to them."

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