Electronic crime rate up sharply

Thousands of Alpha Bank customers have been receiving e-mails requesting private account details from senders pretending to represent the bank, authorities said yesterday as fresh data show that electronic crime rates in Greece are soaring. Police called on Alpha Bank customers to ignore the messages sent out on Monday night that bear the bank’s logo and threaten to freeze accounts if personal details are not handed over. The e-mails, which appear to have been poorly translated from English into Greek, were sent from various countries, police said. With Internet usage growing, electronic crimes have increased sharply, according to Manolis Sfakianakis, head of the police’s electronic crime division. «There has been a sharp increase in incidents of ‘cracking’ that target banks. Culprits mainly strike at the weak link, which is the customer and electronic bank users,» he said. In 1996, one incident of e-crime was reported to police every three months, according to Sfakianakis, while the figure has now risen to over 20 reports a day.