Bankers group warns clients of online phishing attacks
- Ehda Dagooc () - January 17, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Although online phishing attacks is not that rampant yet in Cebu, the Cebu Bankers Club (CBC) has reiterated its warning for bank depositors to be vigilant in using online transactions, to protect themselves from the threat of online banking “phishing.”

CBC past president Prudencio Gesta said that although Cebu banks have yet to report online phishing attacks from clients, depositors should be aware of this online “scam” and should practice serious vigilance with their online transactions.

Wikipedia defines phishing as a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public.

“We warn the public not to trust anyone or click on any link sent via e-mail or SMS if it requests for personal information. Clients should only deal directly with their respective banks,” said Gesta, who is also the senior deputy head for Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) for Visayas and Mindanao sales operation.

Some banking clients all over the world, including those in the Philippines, have already reported similar incidents. However, there is no similar incident yet reported by banks’ clients.

Nevertheless, he said CBC is reiterating its warning, as more and more depositors are now enjoying the convenience of online transactions. Although on the banking side, online transactions are secured, some “hackers” are able to maneuver themselves in getting depositors’ information through attractive offers, pretending to be the banks’ representative.

This time, he said it is important for depositors to cultivate personal relationship with banking personnel, so that any information, offer that will be sent via online messages, or personal account email, should be immediately verified.

He said such attacks are carried out by unscrupulous groups that randomly send bank clients an email message asking for their user IDs, log-in and transaction passwords and claiming that this is to ensure their continued use of the bank’s Internet banking facility.

“Please be informed that these messages are fictitious, fabricated and are only meant to mislead you into allowing these phishers to steal your online financial identity and illegally transact on your behalf,” RCBC said in a bank advisory.

The bank advised its clients who do online shopping to also check if the merchant they are dealing with is an accredited partner of the bank.

In the Philippines, phishing attacks is not yet prevalent, but it is good to be aware, and be cautious. (FREEMAN)

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