Last year, there was quite an uproar when employees of leading Dutch bank ABN Amro were told that they would no longer receive the traditional Christmas hamper gift. Many were therefore pleasantly surprised when they received an email recently informing them that surprise gifts would be handed out again this year.
However, the message turned out to be a test carried out by the bank to gauge the level of alertness to scams among its staff. Employees who clicked on the link ended up on a fake page, where they found tips on how to spot phishing messages and other email scams. The employees also discovered on the site that there would be no Christmas hamper boxes this year either.
“Oops, you’ve clicked on a link in a phishing email.
No cause for panic; this is only a test.”
Cashing in on Christmas
Cyber criminals are increasingly trying to cash in on current events, using topics that strike a chord with many people. An email about Christmas hampers like the one sent by ABN Amro therefore isn’t far-fetched at all.
Last month, Fraud Help Desk warned of another email trying to capitalise on news about a new government coalition agreement. Spotting these scam emails is getting more and more difficult as many now start off with a personal greeting.
Here are the tips that ABN Amro gave to its staff in its ‘scam email’:
- The email comes from and leads to a fake ABN Amro email address;
- No name is given at the bottom of the email, instead you will find a generic term like ‘Management Team’.
NB Notifications like these are usually published on the Intranet, they are not sent by email.