Is It ID Theft Or Was The Bank Robbed?

from the which-one-seems-more-accurate dept

Via Clay Shirky, comes a very good point from Kevin Marks concerning claims of "identity theft," where he notes that identity theft is not actually an identity being stolen but is usually a bank/credit card company being robbed and passing off the blame for their own poor security on the victim. He point to a brilliant comedy routine by Mitchell and Webb that makes this all pretty clear:
"They took all the money? That sounds more like a bank robbery."
"No, no. If only. 'Cause we could take the hit. No, no. It was actually your identity that was stolen, primarily. It's a massive pisser for you."
"But, it's actually money that's been taken..."
"Yes"
"From you?"
"Kind of."
"I don't know what you want from me other than my commiserations."
"You see it was your identity. They said they were you!"
"And you believed them?"
"Yes, they stole your identity."
"Well, I don't know. I seem to still have my identity, whereas you seem to have lost several thousands of pounds. In light of that, I'm not sure why you think it was my identity that was stolen instead of your money."
The problem isn't "identity theft." It's bad security and verification processes by a financial institution.

Filed Under: identity theft, scams, security


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  1. icon
    jilocasin (profile), 19 Aug 2009 @ 11:14am

    I don't bank online... the risk is withthe wrong people.

    Well the banks and credit unions I've dealt with all say the same thing;
    IE only
    4 digit (that's numbers only folks) password.
    Anything _bad_ happens and _you_ assume all risk.

    My response is to have nothing to do with online banking.

    I didn't set up the rules.
    I didn't code their web site.
    I don't have any say in their verification process.

    It's their site, if they want me to bank online (which is much more cost effective than having me deal with a live human teller) then they need to assume some of the risk.

    With a credit card, your responsible for the first $50, they eat the rest if it's used fraudulently. Guess what, credit cards are much more secure as a result. You only use your card locally for purchases less than $100. A charge shows up for a $2,500 purchase in Mexico City, you get a call from your credit card company asking if this is a legit purchase. Why? Because if it isn't they eat it.

    Security for most companies is an externality. It doesn't directly effect their bottom line, it effects yours. The problem of course is that only they are in a position to fix it. They won't as long as it's not their problem. Once we make it their problem, then they'll have an incentive clean up their acts.

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