(Sur in English) Unsuspecting net users may have been forgiven for thinking that Christmas had come early. In their inboxes they discovered an email, purporting to be from the Tax office, which informed them that they were due a rebate and asked for their bank account details to enable the money to be paid back to them. It was, of course, yet another new fraud aimed at gaining access to bank account details in order to remove the contents of the account.>
Internet companies, consumer organisations and local authorities amongst others warn continuously against giving out confidential information over the internet. Mailboxes are full of “phishing” emails, swindles and frauds designed to elicit financial information from unwary users. The email purporting to be from Hacienda (Tax office) was full of errors and from the wrong address, but the possibility of a refund of several hundred euros seems to affect some people’s eyesight. Those who responded were, after a suitable wait, asked for the full name, DNI, their bank and account number, credit card details and a telephone number.
Behind the scams, according to the police, are Nigerian gangs, already known for the lottery swindles which netted them millions. The summer, Christmas and Easter, when people are holidaying and relaxed, are the favourite times for flooding inboxes with these types of scams. Recent weeks have seen an avalanche of emails pretending to be from major banks and asking for account passwords, often for “security” reasons. Of course, no bank would request those details in that way, but people still fall for it.
Hacienda is already taking measures to track down those responsible for the current swindle. But, at the end of the day, it is down to the individual to be on guard against this sort of scam which will always be with us.