'Phish & Chips' van lets you pay for a meal with scam phishing emails and smishing texts

The nation is in the grip of a phishing epidemic, with a staggering three quarters (74 per cent) of Britons1 targeted by scammers with phishing emails, smishing texts and vishing calls. With each person targeted receiving an average of 16 fraudulent emails, texts or calls last year, this means up to 600 million phishing, smishing and vishing attempts potentially took place in the UK in the last 12 months.2

Today, to raise public awareness of the UK’s major phishing problem, Santander UK has given a truly British institution a distinctly phishy twist: by launching a fish and chips van that actually accepts payment in the form of phishing emails and smishing texts.3

Customers at Santander’s new Phish & Chips van can simply present staff with a phishing email or smishing text4,in exchange for a portion of fish and chips, along with a side of advice on avoiding the tricks criminals use in their attempts to steal people’s money and identities. Customers without a phishing email or text to show can alternatively take a short quiz to identify a scam email or text.

While ‘phishing’ as a term may have entered the mainstream lexicon, Santander’s research shows that one in seven people don’t know the terms phishing, smishing or vishing at all, while almost three quarters of people are not fully familiar with their meaning.

Reza Attar-Zadeh, Head of Customer Experience at Santander UK, commented: “Santander takes the fight against fraud very seriously – we have seen the life changing impact it can have on people’s lives. Consumer awareness is absolutely key to tackling what is currently one of the biggest threats to the security of people’s finances. Our Phish & Chips van is a way of delivering our three key fraud prevention messages in an engaging way while educating people that both banks and consumers have a role to play in keeping the fraudsters at bay.”

In addition to dishing out fish and chips, Santander UK is serving up its top tips and advice on avoiding becoming a victim of phishing scams:

  • Never share your Santander One Time Passcode (OTP), PIN number or online banking password with another person, not even Santander staff;
  • Never download software or let anyone log on to your computer devices remotely during or after a cold call; and
  • Never enter your online banking details after clicking on a link in an email or text message.

Of the 74 per cent of British adults that Santander UK’s research shows have been targeted by scammers almost two thirds (65 per cent) have received a phishing email, 23 per cent a phishing SMS and just over one in 10 (11 per cent) a phishing telephone call (‘vishing’). Over a quarter (27 per cent) believed the communications to be genuine, and seven per cent subsequently fell victim to the scammers, seeing their identities stolen, money withdrawn from their accounts and fraudulent payments made on their credit cards.

Although the latest fraud figures from Financial Fraud Action UK5 show an overall reduction of eight per cent in total fraud losses, there has been a seven per cent rise in the number of cases of remote banking fraud with a five per cent rise in internet banking, a seven per cent rise in telephone banking and a twenty per cent rise in mobile banking in the first half of 2017.

Reza Attar-Zadeh added: “Phishing has been around for a number of years, originating with emails that were unsophisticated and obviously fraudulent. However, today phishing emails have evolved. They can appear in inboxes as convincing and genuine communications from consumer brands, but there are signs to look out for such as spelling mistakes, generic greetings rather than your name and suspicious looking email addresses.”

Delving further into the research by Santander UK, the results suggest:

  • It is those aged 25 – 34 that are most likely to receive scam communications. However, it is the 18 – 24 year olds that are most likely to be duped by scam artists, with 39 per cent of this age group believing a phishing email, text or call to be genuine against an average of 27 per cent;
  • Scammers will target those with higher incomes, with 77 per cent of those earning over £25,000 targeted compared with 71 per cent of those earning less than £25,000; and
  • When it comes to the UK’s phishing hotspots, the research points to Scotland as the phisherman’s favourite trawling ground, followed closely by South East England and North East England. The South West, meanwhile, is the least targeted relative to other regions.

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Notes to Editors

  1. Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of Santander UK in September 2017. The sample was 2,000 British adults aged 18 – 55+.
  2. According to the ONS 2011 Census there are 49,044,280 adults (18 – 90+) in the UK. 73.8% of respondents received phishing emails, smishing texts or vishing calls. In the last three months these respondents received an average of 4.14 scam communications. Over the course of 12 months this is an average 16.56 scam communications. When multiplied by the population estimated to have received phishing emails, smishing texts or vishing calls (36,219,201 people) it can be approximated that 599,789,965 phishing emails, smishing texts and vishing calls have been distributed.
  3. The Phish & Chips van will be visiting the following locations and serving fish and chips from 12:00pm – 3:00pm: Manchester: Thursday 5th October, Liverpool: Friday 6th October, Leicester: Friday 13th October, Birmingham: Saturday 14th October, Cardiff: Friday 20th October, Bristol: Saturday 21st October, London: Tuesday 24th October, Leeds: Friday 27th October, Glasgow: Saturday 28th October
  4. Customers simply need to show staff of the Phish & Chips van a suspected phishing email (printed out or on their smartphone or tablet) or suspected smishing text message in exchange for a free portion of fish and chips (or battered halloumi and chips). For customers that do not have either a phishing email or smishing text, they can take a short quiz created by Santander UK asking them to identify genuine and fraudulent emails and texts.
  5. Financial Fraud Action UK: 2017 half year fraud update – September 2017

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander
(SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.

Media Enquiries
Miranda Seymour   T: 020 7756 4189     M: 07860 857 999     E: miranda.seymour@santander.co.uk
Andy Smith               T: 020 7756 4212     M: 07824 473 338     E: andy.g.smith@santander.co.uk  

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