MAASTRICHT. Eleven ABN Amro customers expressed their concerns to Maastricht University after receiving e-mails from the university and their bank, said to be part of a customer satisfaction survey. They were asked to fill in a questionnaire on a website. The eleven wondered if it was a phishing e-mail. Phishing is a form of Internet fraud in which people are lured to a fake website through a link in an e-mail. They are then asked to fill in their username and password. With these details criminals gain access to their mailboxes and from there start sending enormous amounts of spam.
Anyway, no, in this case it was not a phishing e-mail. ABN Amro actually contracted the Service Science Factory of Maastricht University for a customer satisfaction survey. Twenty thousand bank customers were sent an e-mail (with the bank’s and the university’s logos) in which they were invited to participated.
“I view the fact that customers are alert when it comes to phishing as positive,” says Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, professor and director of the Service Science Factory, who signed the e-mail message. “Every worried customer is one too many.” However, the response was so high that a reminder e-mail did not need to be sent. “We have been carrying out customer satisfaction surveys for businesses for over twenty years, the last ten years mainly by e-mail.”
Before the summer, 26 Maastricht University employees were ‘tricked’ by phishing e-mails. They revealed their usernames and passwords after they had been asked to log on to a fake site that bore a striking resemblance to the Unimaas page. The UM faces phishing attacks on a daily basis. Fortunately most e-mails are intercepted before they reach the employees. But certainly when it comes to bank affairs, phishing alerts are given time and again.