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How Safe Is Your Internet Bank Account?

The internet is whatever you want it to be. It is such a huge resource of information, good and bad, that whoever uses the internet will find a way to use it in the way that suits them.

Banking on the Internet can be great and it can be a nightmare. We look at the first question most people ask before opening an Internet account:

“Is it safe?”

Banking, but not as we know it

Internet banking really started to take off a few years ago and it very soon became clear to the financial giants that they were going to have to make some changes to the way they did business to deal with customers and their requirements through this new Internet phenomena.

Just as the credit card companies had not initially realised the potential for online fraud neither had the banks. In the early days of credit card use on line companies such as Visa and Mastercard still held the cardholder responsible for all debts incurred with the card in their name, whether they had incurred them or not.

Identity theft in those days wasn’t so common and there were hundreds of people who approached the credit card companies asking for help when their card details had been stolen by unscrupulous websites. The credit card companies initially reacted with, “You are responsible”. But they soon realised, as the numbers of complaints rose to tens of thousands, that if they were to increase business, (and what an opportunity the Internet provided) they would have to offer some guarantees.

The banks now offer the same sort of guarantees. They guarantee to make your account safe and most banks assure users that any fraudulent action with customer details and funds will be covered by the bank, not by the customer.

That’s a whole new ball game. And the banks try everything in the book to prevent identity theft and therefore their loss of profits.

It wasn’t me

In 2005 internet fraud cost banks £14.5 million, that’s up from £4 million the year before, so it’s a huge problem: not so much in scale, but in terms of how fast Internet Bank fraud is rising.

So far the banks have encouraged Internet banking by taking as many security precautions as possible. Hackers will still be able to break through if they are determined enough, but for your average internet fraudster Banks’ security is a sufficient deterrent.

However, if you look the other way, back towards the customer, then the story is completely different and it is with the customer that the blame should lie for this increase in fraud.

Fire what?

The problem is that most of us simply don’t know enough about computers and how they work.

Microsoft have done a great job in making computers user friendly, a complete novice can get by with a computer without too much trouble. Inevitably they are going to press the odd icon that they shouldn’t, but overall anybody can get up and running online and use a computer well enough to open a Bank account on the Internet in no time at all.

But what security measures do we take on our PC’s? Do we have anti-virus software installed and up to date? Do we have a firewall, and if we have, do we know how to use it? Does every internet bank customer regularly check Microsoft for security updates for Windows?


Then there’s the whole issue of what they do with their PIN numbers, access codes and passwords for each bank site they have.

Most banking breaches of security are actually caused by the customer. Often these are done innocently by people responding to an email that appears to come from their bank. This practice of sending out fraudulent emails is called Phising and once the customer has pressed a link in the email it will take them to a false site that looks just like the real thing. There they will be asked to enter their security codes and PIN numbers and in so doing they will have given a fraudster open access to their bank account.

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So far the banks pay for these misdemeanours. But they may not forever. Can they afford not to? One survey suggests that if customers were made to bear the burden of all security when banking online then 77% of them would cancel their internet bank accounts. And then where would the banks be?

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Posted on: [ November 03, 2017 ]       Add to   Digg it   Add to Blinklist   Add to FUrl   StumbleUpon