Identity Theft, Bank Tellers, and Fraud

Up to now, the “hooded cyber-hacker”  — often from eastern block countries — has been the boogie-man in the world of online security, making people wary of mobile and web-based transactions. Are Checks Now Safer than Debit/Credit Cards?

However, if Manhattan’s top District Attorney Cyrus Vance is to be believed, consumers may have as much — or more — to fear from bank tellers than they do from accessing their accounts online or with a mobile device.

“Bank tellers have access to very confidential data … they’re selling to individuals on the outside, who will then take that information and turn it into credit cards or checks,” Vance said.

Asked whether people around the country should be worried, Vance replied: “I think we should all be worried. That doesn’t mean we should all panic.”

According to Vance, banks react with various levels of urgency and effectiveness to these sorts of breaches. Chase Bank, for example, fully reimbursed bank customers who were victimized by a former teller in a recent case.

One way to address this concern from a bank management and risk mitigation standpoint is to integrate better software controls in the teller processing system. Today, cash checks are an example of a major risk point, where a teller can check a balance of an account and simply provide the cash back. Security features like automated signature verification and check stock validation can identify forgeries and counterfeits, alerting tellers and branch managers of possible fraud and ID theft situations.

Read the full story along with Good Morning America’s television report here.

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