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Another 'Phishing' Scam Hits Bank Clients.

An Internet 'phishing' scam has again surfaced in Namibia, Bank Windhoek warned this week.

The bank said the rapidly spreading e-mail has illegally been attempting to obtain the personal details of unsuspecting online banking customers.

Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail in which the sender falsely claims to be from a legitimate organisation, in an attempt to scam the recipient into disclosing private information. These e-mails are typically not personalized and ask for information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social security numbers and passwords that can be used for identity theft. The content of these phishing e-mails typically include upsetting or exciting statements that prompt recipients to react immediately.

In the case of the current phishing scam, the hoax e-mail appears to the recipient to be coming from an employee of the organisation (bank) and coerces the recipient into clicking on a website link. This link directs the recipient to a cloned version of the bank's website where the recipient is asked to supply their Internet banking username and password.

Often users are not even aware that they have fallen victim to a phishing scam as the cloned site appears genuinely authentic by using parts of the real website as well as a site re-direction gimmicks.

Internet users are advised to be extremely cautious when receiving such an e-mail and to ignore it completely.

Victims of fraud often expect the organisation whose logo or name is used illegally in a phishing scam, to accept responsibility for any losses or damage incurred as a result of responding to a fraudulent e-mail. However, the targeted organisation cannot be held liable as victims provide information out of free will.

"If you are unsure about the authenticity of an e-mail, rather report it to your bank for investigation," said a spokesperson.

Although the Internet's convenience has made it a popular channel for a wide range of business transactions, it brings with it a great deal of risk and vulnerability to users. While advances in technology have helped improve security over the Internet, it has also provided criminals with countless new opportunities.

Bank Windhoek encouraged Namibians to be aware of phishing scams and to consider the following security precautions:

Never reply to an e-mail requesting personal information.

Instead of following the hyperlink on an e-mail, rather type in the URL (e.g. www.bankwindhoek.com.na), which will take you directly to the website.

Ensure the website address (URL behind the link) is prefixed with 'https' and not only 'http' as the 's' indicates a secure site.

Verify that you are visiting a secure website by checking the security certificate.

Check the e-mail for grammatically incorrect language, as this is often an indicator of a fraudulent e-mail

Check that the e-mail is signed by a company official.

Ensure that you have an updated anti-virus and spyware programme and perform regular system scans.

Avoid using public terminals for Internet banking.

Be aware of the high risk of interception during a wireless connection.

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)
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Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Date:Mar 20, 2009
Words:508
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