"This is bank robbery or attempted bank robbery. We've sent all
customers multiple e-mails warning them against phishing and notifying
them how we see it occurring in the market. We treat the online
environment as though it's our primary branch. We spend a tremendous
amount of time on security and educating current and prospective
"Phishing is something consumers can protect themselves against. Your
financial institution won't ask you to click on a link in an e-mail
and list personal information. If you have any questions about an
e-mail, notify the bank and ask for an e-mail with a certificate."
"If a customer thinks their account has been violated, they can send
us an e-mail and get a response that's authenticated," says Ilieva
Ageenko, director of emerging enterprise applications at
Wachovia. "Secured e-mail is a key to defeating fraud."
But when it comes to online banking security, the biggest threat to
consumers may be the person in the mirror. Many of us aren't the best
at guarding our passwords and PINs. We write passwords on a piece of
paper and then stuff it in our wallet or leave it in a desk drawer. We
log onto our bank account at work or at a public access computer and
then walk away. We make an ATM withdrawal and toss the
receipt. Fortunately, most banks now save us from ourselves by
printing only a partial account number on the receipt.
"Consumers are a funny
group," notes DeZabala. "They want perfect security but they
don't want it to be intrusive. 'I don't want to go through a lot of
things to get in, but don't let anyone else get in and don't make me
carry a card and don't make me change my password too frequently
because I can't remember it.'"
Many banks and brokerages have extensive information on their Web
sites to educate consumers about e-mail and other online fraud. You'll
find tips on how to recognize potential fraud, how to report it, and
what to do if your account has been compromised. The FTC also has
steps to take if you think your identity has been stolen.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily
media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra . New articles daily.
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