Concerned about the rise of so-called phishing attacks, Wachovia said this week that it would communicate with customers only through its “message center” rather than by email.

Phishing attacks occur when consumers or businesses are targeted by bogus email claiming to be from a service provider and seeking personal information.

“With the rise in phishing attacks, Wachovia is letting its customers know that they will never request or communicate sensitive account information to them through email,” Wachovia said in a statement. “Instead, Wachovia will securely communicate with customers about important account and servicing information through the Message Center. Customers can also initiate communications with Wachovia Customer Service by logging into Online Services and using the Message Center.”

Wachovia customers will receive an email from the bank notifying them simply that a message has arrived at the message center. It will not provide an active line. Customers will have to log in to their online account in order to get the information.