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Phish & Chips Please, Jenson Button

British racing driver Jenson Button has swapped the F1 paddock for fried haddock as he took the wheel of Santander’s unique scam-busting Phish & Chips van and served fresh fish and chips to the public in exchange for phishing emails and smishing texts. 

 As Santander’s brand ambassador, Jenson is throwing his weight behind the bank’s national campaign to help the public avoid being scammed by phishing emails and smishing messages.

Jenson fired up the friers of the Phish & Chips van as it made its appearance in London, following a month-long nationwide tour visiting Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leicester, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol. 

During the tour, the Phish & Chips van, which accepts payment in the form of phishing emails and smishing texts, has handed out over 3,000 portions of fish and chips to the public, along with a side of advice on avoiding the tricks criminals’ use in their attempts to steal people’s money and identities.

On his honorary new role as a scam fighting, itinerant purveyor of fish and chips Jenson Button said: "Being behind the wheel of the Phish and Chip van around London was certainly a different driving experience! It was a lot of fun being part of the tour and serving fish and chips to the public in exchange for their scam emails. It’s been eye opening to see how many people receive these emails every day!”    

The Phish & Chips van was created following research showing how the nation is in the grip of a phishing epidemic, with a staggering three quarters (74 per cent) of Britons 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 (the equivalent of over 1.6 million scam messages each day).

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 meaning5.

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.

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.”

Notes  

1)     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.

2)     The Phish & Chips van visited the following locations: Manchester: Thursday 5th October, Liverpool: Friday 6th October, Leicester: Friday 13th October, Birmingham: Saturday 14th October, Cardiff: Friday 20th October, Bristol: Saturday 21st October, Leeds: Friday 27th October, Glasgow: Saturday 28th October, London 6th November.

3)     Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of Santander UK in September 2017. The sample was 2,000 British adults aged 18 – 55+.

4)     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. Over the course of a 365 day year, this is the equivalent of 1,643,260 scam communications per day.

5)     Additional detail from the research shows:

  • 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. 
  • It is those aged 25 – 34that 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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