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Securing Your Account Details

Jan 7, 2008
In today's world of online and phone banking it has never been easier to access either your business or personal account at the touch of a button. Balance enquiries and transfers can be carried out in the comfort of your own home in what has been heralded as a revolution in the world of banking. A worrying trend however is the increased amount of fraudsters who, with technical knowledge can hoodwink banks into gaining access to a client's account details.

We are told that identity theft is the fastest growing crime worldwide. No longer is it just your credit card that presents a risk, online accounts can be problematic for both your business and personal finances. Worryingly some bank's security systems have proved woefully inadequate in protecting their account details.

One process includes 'keylogging' where the keys depressed are recorded through software giving fraudsters the passwords and security numbers that gain access to an account. Once access to an account is gained, money transfers, loan arrangements and the changing of account details are all possible. Those who hold business accounts will be especially worried as keeping track of finances in business is not always easy and is certainly not always immediate.

It is not just online systems that have caused concerns, the security of overseas call centres has also been questioned as a couple recently lost fifteen hundred pounds through transfers after their security questions and codes were leaked to an external party. Although they have since regained the funds the identity of the fraudster was not ascertained and an explanation from the bank was never given.

Bogus websites and emails have also traditionally been methods used by fraudsters to acquire business and personal account details. Often the hoax includes an email warning that account details have already been compromised and customers should phone or email details in order to gain new account information. This subterfuge has occurred through mediums such as post, email and phone; subsequently vigilance is a constant necessity for those wishing to protect their business or personal finances.

The banks are attempting to combat these crimes in a number of ways to protect customer's business and personal account details. Most have introduced drop down screens for sensitive information to prevent 'keylogging' whilst creating more than one password for customers. Other banks have taken a more direct route.

One bank has produced a 'key fob' that generates a six digit code every thirty seconds to be used in conjunction with usernames and passwords; whilst other banks have also produced number generators to ensure the security of account details.

The growth in biometric data is sure to take an effect as one Dutch bank has introduced voice recognition technology for use with its phone banking systems, it relies on the pitch and frequency of a voice to recognise the account user. Such technologies however are not perfect and will surely cause problems while they are still in their infancy.

The banks profess that they are doing all in their power to protect customer's personal and business details. Arguably there is not much more they can do; fraudsters are always looking for ways into the system and will endeavour to prolong their underhand business activities.

In what has been labelled a 'technological arms race' the banks are one step ahead for the moment, they will however have to think fast to stay ahead of the criminals who constantly look for ways to cheat people out of their finances.
About the Author
Finance expert Shaun Parker looks into the variety of business account protection systems used by banks. To find out more please visit http://www.lloydstsbbusiness.com/
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