09 January 2004

New net banking scam

New net banking scam:

Jennifer Sexton
The Australian

CUSTOMERS of the nation's five leading banks are unwittingly being siphoned of their savings online, after logging on to official internet banking websites.

Federal police are investigating the latest international banking scam involving the use of online 'trojans' to steal personal account details via computers, which don't have anti-virus protection.

The perpetrators, believed to be working out of Russia and Latvia, recruit other local account holders to accept and transfer the funds in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.

Customers of the National, Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and St George have all fallen prey to the scam when using computers without updated anti-virus firewalls.

These computers have been located at home, in libraries and internet cafes.

Tim Ireland, National savings account holder and an employee of The Australian, was robbed of $9000 just before Christmas. The fraudster's first attempt on December 2 last year at a $10,000 withdrawal was knocked back due to insufficient funds. One minute later $5000 was withdrawn.

The following morning a $5000 withdrawal was rejected but immediately after the remaining $4000 was depleted.

'Rather than selling people on the convenience of internet banking, the banks should be making clear the high risk of exposure to hackers should you access your account from a computer you can't vouch for,' said Mr Ireland, whose funds were reimbursed after a 14-day investigation by the bank.

The Australian Bankers Association was yet to officially warn of this particular scam, but the National's customer resolutions representative, Glenn Leyden, admitted in a letter to Mr Ireland on Christmas Eve that none of the major banks had escaped it."

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