It’s not unusual for banks to send emails which are confusingly similar to phishing, but this recent one I received from Virgin Money is exceptionally bad. It tells customers that the bank (Northern Rock) is changing domain names from their usual one (
virginmoney.com and customers should use their usual security credentials to log into the new domain name. Mail clients will often be helpful and change the
virginmoney.com into a link.
This message is exactly what phishers would like customers to fall for. While this email was legitimate (albeit very unwise), a criminal could follow up with an email saying that savings customers should access their account at
virginsavings.net (which is currently available for registration). Virgin Money have trained their customers to accept such emails as legitimate, which is a very dangerous lesson to teach.
It would have been safer to not do the rebranding, but if that’s considered essential for commercial reasons, then customers should have been told to continue accessing the site at their usual domain name, and redirected them (via HTTPS) to the new site. It would mean keeping hold of the Northern Rock domain names for the foreseeable future, but that is almost certainly what Virgin Money are planning anyway.