If you’re living in Spain and currently bank with either DGT or Santander then you need to be aware of a rising number of phishing scams utilising these two banking organisations, according to Spanish internet and cyber security authorities. According to a recent alert released by these bodies to the INCIBE (Instituto Nacional de Ciberseguridad) and OSI (Oficina de Seguridad del Internauta) websites these scam campaigns have the ability to either steal your personal credentials (such as personal information or banking details) or install malicious software onto your phone. Here’s everything you need to know about these two new phishing scams, and how to avoid them:
Scam Number One: Unpaid Fines from DGT
The first of the two new scams is an incredibly widespread one, and is a fraudulent email campaign. The email claims to be sent by the DGT: the Spanish traffic authority. Whilst subject headings and content can vary slightly, the title of this scam email will be “Bloqueo del Vehiculo - Multa no Pagada” which translates into English to mean “Vehicle blocking – Unpaid fine”. Receiving the email will not provide the phishers with access to your information, so if you receive or have received this email then you should delete it from your inbox and then check your downloads folder to ensure that any files contained within the email weren’t downloaded to your computer. If they were, then you should delete these files without opening them too.
If you receive this email and you do click on one of the links that it contains then the link will download malware to your device that will infect it, often without you being aware that it has happened. For this reason, if you have received one of these emails and clicked the links within it then you are strongly advised to install anti-virus software to your device, and then run it to thoroughly check and clean your computer or phone.
It’s important to note that the email title or content of the email in this scam may differ, and that the techniques they use to encourage you to click through the links may also change, but the overall theme of the scam is that you have received a fine from the DGT, and that there will be consequences if you do not click on the link within the email. This email will use a domain that appears to be from the DGT, and will use official logos from the organisation to give it more credibility. It is an incredibly sophisticated scam, and for this reason it is one that many people have already fallen victim to.
If in doubt, do not open the email and certainly do not click through the links within it. You can always contact the DGT independently, via phone or email, to ensure that they are not trying to contact you.
Scam Number Two: Santander Bank Verification
This scam is specifically targeting those living in Spain who bank with Banco Santander. According to Incibe, a wide variety of campaigns are currently being used by phishers to target those who bank with the organisation, which is one of the biggest in Spain. The most popular of these is an email which is entitled Tu cuenta necesita atencion!” and which asks users to update their personal information or their bank account will be closed. It’s important to note that your bank will never ask you to share personal information in this way, and that any such emails should be ignored. If you do bank with Santander and receive an email that you think might be genuine, you are ignored not to click on any links within that email, and log into your online banking independently instead. This will give you an extra layer or security and protection.
If you have received one of these phishing emails and clicked on the links they contain then you should change your banking password as soon as possible, and contact your bank straight away. If you have shared additional personal information then gather any evidence and information about the scam (including screenshots of the emails, and the information you have shared) and take these directly to the authorities.
The Importance of Protecting Yourself from Online Phishing
Scam attempts are becoming an increasing problem in our society, and many scams emails are becoming so sophisticated that it can be difficult to separate them from genuine communications. For this reason, Incibe are currently advising spanish residents that they should:
- Never open emails from unknown users
- Always verify the origin of an email before trusting it
- Never reply to an email that you suspect may be fraudulent
- By wary of links that you are sent via email, text message or social network
- Update your antivirus protection
- Ensure that you have strong passwords across all of your online accounts
Cyber scams and phishing scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which means that anyone can become a victim of them. It’s important to remain alert, and to share information about new scams such as these with your friends and family members to help them keep their personal details safe too. If in doubt, be suspicious and don’t share your information with anyone. Call your bank first, rather than clicking on an email or text link, or sharing your information online.
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