CONSUMER bosses have warned of an email scam known as phishing.
Bank customers are being targeted by internationally organised criminal groups
Phishing attacks use spoof email and fraudulent websites to fool people into entering personal financial data - such as credit card numbers, account user names and passwords - which can then be used for financial theft or identity theft.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards officials today urged people to watch out.
Chief officer Martin Wood said: "As a general rule, banks will not send emails to customers. You will certainly not be asked for your account details by email.
"If you get an email you are suspicious of just delete it or call your bank to check whether it is legitimate."
Phishing takes it name from the words password and fishing.
Barclays, Natwest, Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Nationwide are among organisations which have been targeted in such attacks.
Up to 5% of recipients are thought to respond to the emails.
Experts advise computer users to be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information.
They warn against using links in an email to get to any web page, especially if it is thought the message might not be authentic.
Any personal financial information - such as credit card numbers or account information - should only be communicated via a secure website or the phone.
Accounts should always be checked regularly, to make sure all transactions are legitimate.
Clr Tony Brice, a Lindley councillor who is a member of West Yorkshire's trading standards committee, said: "Unfortunately, scams such as these are widespread and can affect a large number of banks and their customers.
"I would urge members of the public to be vigilant," he added.