This story was first published on August 1, 2017
This bogus message falsely claims to be from the security department of large banking group Santander.
In a tried and tested phishing technique, the criminals responsible for this scam attempt claim that recipients must immediately click a link to update their banking details due to a scheduled software upgrade. Supposedly, this software upgrade will result in improved services for customers.
But, of course, the message is certainly not from Santander and the claim that the recipient must upgrade his or her account is untrue. The supposed account upgrade requirement is simply the bait used to trick victims into visiting a fake “Santander Online Bank” website and submitting their personal information. The fake site has been made to look very similar to the genuine Santander website.
Those who fall for the trick and click the “upgrade” link will first be taken to a bogus bank login page as depicted in the following screenshot:
Next, the victim is taken to a second fake page that asks for the account passcode, pin and contact details:
After submitting the requested information, the victim is taken to a third fake page that asks for the security verification questions attached to the account:
Finally, the victim receives a pop-up message advising that the verification request has been successfully completed:
After clicking the “OK” button, the victim is then automatically redirected to the UK branch of the genuine Santander website. Meanwhile, the criminals behind the scam will be able to collect all of the submitted information and use it to hijack their victim’s real Santander account and commit fraud and identity theft.
The bank advises its customers about such scams via its website. As with other legitimate banks and financial institutions, Santander will never ask customers to provide online bank details via an email.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!