Cybercrime outbreak targets French banking customers

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(Bloomberg) -- There’s an outbreak of email and telephone hoaxes in France falsely attributed to the country’s central bank, as criminals multiply attempts to steal credentials from French companies and consumers, the Bank of France said.

People have been receiving emails with fake bills, reports of bank accounts being frozen and of loans granted -- all to trick them into handing over account numbers and other such data, France’s central bank said on Thursday. In these so-called phishing attacks, criminals used Bank of France’s name, logo, and also phone numbers and email addresses that are similar to its own, it said.

“The Bank of France calls for the greatest alertness,” it said in a statement. “There’s a resurgence of attempts to steal data using the Bank of France name fraudulently.”

Users are redirected towards a hoax website where they’re asked to input their bank details, or told to download files that turn out to be malicious, Bank of France said. It warned against inputting private information online or giving it over the phone to anyone pretending to be from the central bank.

Financial institutions have upped efforts to defend their data systems and critical client information after JPMorgan Chase & Co. was among companies victim of a massive data theft in 2015. Credit Agricole SA, which commands the largest share of French loans, said earlier this year it’s spending 100 million euros ($109 million) annually on cyber-security.

Spokesmen for Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale and Groupe BPCE declined to comment.

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