Should Banks Be Liable For Online Banking Losses?
from the tricky-situation dept
While this USA Today article discussing stories of online banking users getting scammed and losing their money goes a bit too far to the fear-mongering side of things, it does raise some interesting questions. The biggest one comes from the story of a small business man who was urged by Bank of America to start using their online banking account. The guy had anti-virus and firewall software, but a keylogging trojan was still installed on his machine, allowing someone to transfer nearly $100,000 out of his bank account to an account in Latvia. Bank of America refused to help. While consumer liability is only $50, that's not the case with commercial banking. And, since Bank of America says they didn't do anything wrong, they feel that they aren't responsible. Of course, "not doing anything wrong" may depend on your definition of what's wrong -- and many people would consider the weak security on BofA's site to be part of the problem. The real issue is that, if banks knew they would be liable for such losses, then you can bet they'd make their systems a lot more secure. Of course, most of the proposed solutions still have problems of their own, so this isn't a situation that has an easy solution. Should the liability be split because the guy didn't do enough to protect his own computer, or is that blaming the victim? One thing that's clear, is that these types of crimes are likely going to increase, not decrease.