Customers raging on Twitter about an 18-hour outage at Commonwealth Bank that crippled the bank's computers overnight should beware a recent scam that saw NatWest clients duped in to handing over account details to a bogus handle posing as a bank helpline.
Twitter has become a default mechanism for bank customers to vent their outrage at banking downtime issues. In Australia, Commonwealth Bank customers took to the micro-blogging service in droves overnight to express their frustration over a major systems blackout that knocked out credit cards, ATMS and online banking for the best part of the day.
As is customary, the bank used its Twitter account to keep customers updated on developments.
However, customers trusting to Twitter as a fast access portal for bank complaints may need to tread carefully in the future, as criminal gangs begin to use the medium as a means to con customers into handing over sensitive information.
At the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland on Tuesday, a one-hour outage resulted in floods of messages on Twitter complaining about the bank's creaking computer systems. Within minutes a fake account named NatWest_Quick appeared, directing customers to a bogus NatWest help page offering to sort out problems in exchange for customer account details.
At least two NatWest customers fell victim to the scam, according to the UK's Daily Express, one of whom subsequently had his account hacked by the conmen.
“There are an extremely large number of sophisticated online scams affecting banking customers across the sector," the bank said in a statement. "We work closely with the police and crime agencies to try and prevent this crime, and communicate frequently with our customers about our security measures and specific threats."