Phishing means attempting to obtain consumers' personal information through fake e-mails or fake websites. The information sought may include bank account and credit card numbers, passwords, access and PIN codes, etc. Sometimes consumers are contacted by telephone by someone who falsely claims to be a bank employee and asks the consumer for personal data.

As soon as the fraudster has those data, he or she can pretend to be the victim and withdraw money from that person's bank account.

A few tips to avoid falling victim to phishing:

  • Protect your computer.
  • Never give out your PIN code or internet banking access code to anyone. Likewise, don't give out that information if you are contacted by telephone by someone who claims to be a bank employee and whom you don't know.
  • Do not confirm payments via the internet that you have not set up yourself or that you have received unexpectedly.
  • If you pay with a bank card, a credit card or via your PC and you have the impression that something is wrong, cancel the payment immediately. When in doubt, always terminate a payment immediately.

Further useful information on phishing, such as how to recognize a phishing message and what safety rules you should follow, is available on the website of Febelfin, the Belgian financial sector federation (, under 'Safe Internet Banking').