The Telegraph reports that an email sent to customers who were owed compensation for train delays was feared to be a phishing scam. Phishing is a term used to describe an unsolicited email that asks for personal data or bank details.
This email was sent from an email address email@example.com and asked for bank details to be sent, including sort code and account number. East Coast trains has confirmed it is a legitimate email and apologised for the confusion.
The police, watchdogs and consumer programmes invest a lot of time and effort trying to get the public to understand the risks of giving out personal data and banking details, particularly when approached out of the blue via email or the telephone. So, this irresponsible email by East Coast is particularly disappointing. When legitimate companies approach their customers and expect them to give out bank details in this way, they effectively undermine the best efforts of those trying to protect consumers. Such behaviour may condition customers into thinking it is normal to give away these details to anyone who asks. This can increase the risk of them giving bank details to a fraudster on another occasion.
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