Online Banking Fraud : Are Victims to Blame for the Crimes?

In an age, in which internet security is becoming a must have for all consumers, for those who do online banking, the security online is becoming much more. The number of people who are hacked is continuing to increase, and many people are left wondering what they should be doing in order to protect themselves. While consumers are wondering and starting to dread online banking, there are those who believe that banks are encouraging consumers to have lax internet security. Why is this?

Because as of right now, if you have your account hacked, the bank is going to replace all the funds that have been stolen. Thus, you may have a low balance for a few days, but then you know it will be back soon. This is what is causing many people to not take their internet security seriously, according to Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the United Kingdom.


Online Banking: Why You Aren’t Protected Enough

Bernard Hogan-Howe is the Metropolitan Police Commissioner (UK) who made a few remarks to the Times about cybercrime statistics. In his comments, he stated:

“If you are continually rewarded for bad behavior you will probably continue to do it but if the obverse is true you might consider changing behavior. The system is not incentivizing you to protect yourself. If someone said to you, ‘If you’ve not updated your software I will give you half back,’ you would do it.”

This comment has struck many as unfair and basically taking away from the issue at hand. In fact, there is one particular consumer group that is taking offense to what has been said. Which? Director Richard Lloyd stated:

“The priority should be for banks to better protect their customers, rather than trying to shift blame on to the victims of fraud.”

This has sparked outrage in many people, many of those who have been victims of online fraud, and who despite the best of intentions and precautions, were not able to prevent this from happening. The Met has come to the defense of their Commissioner, stating that the comment was taken somewhat of context, that the Commissioner simply meant that there were those who were not doing all that they could do in order to protect themselves. The Met released this statement:

“It [online banking fraud] has a parallel to insurance companies who do not pay out on claims if the front door is not secure or car left unlocked.”

Concerns Raised

After these comments have begun to make their rounds throughout the UK, and now into the United States, it is bringing the issue of online banking fraud to the front of the stage. The 2015 Identify Fraud Study has released its result. The full study can be found here. Here are some of the more interesting facts of this study:

  1. 2015 saw more records exposed and data breaches than years before
  2. The were 123,684 counts of money lost in these cyber crime complaints
  3. The top 10 states throughout the United States for cybercrime, including online banking fraud, include California, Florida, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, and Ohio.
  4. In 2014, bank fraud accounted for 8.2% of how information was used when stolen.

So what can you do? A lot of the issues surrounding online banking is security issues on the bank’s side of things. These companies need to be putting their consumer first and worrying more about security rather than fees that they may be taking onto the consumer, for whatever reason.

For consumers, utilizing a VPN to help protect their data while they are online from prying eyes, is just one way in which they can help lower their chances of becoming a victim of fraud online.

However, other methods include using a strong password, as well as ensuring that you have anti-virus and antimalware programs that are up to date and installed correctly. In the end, online banking can become more secure if we all work together. And the comments that this is the victim’s fault is not entirely true, but in many cases, victims often do not realize there is an issue with their security until it is too late.

Joel Timothy is a writer who has a passion for tech and internet security and privacy.


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