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
    Chargone (profile), 19 Aug 2009 @ 12:31pm

    pretty sure the process to get into the online banking system here is a lot shorter, and so far as i can tell you can't NOT have online banking.

    that said, while the debit card has a 4 diget pin, the Internet banking [at least the bank i use] requires you to use a rather long password. which i could never remember. to the point where i got locked out of my own account at least once.

    i just don't bother anymore. use the ATM for regular, normal withdrawals, and actually go into the bank for anything more complex. it's just... massively less hassle.

    then again, the banks are all 9-5, Monday to Friday deals [some now open part of Saturday]. catering precisely to, as some wit put it: two types of people: the unemployed, and bank robbers. so maybe it's not that convenient if one actually has a job.

    while there is some truth to the whole 'identity theft' angle, in that you very much should do your best to keep your passwords etc secure, and notify the bank if they get stolen or whatever, a password is a key. no more, no less. if you have a safety deposit box, and someone steals your key, copies it, returns the key in such a way that you do not know it was gone, and then one fine day waltzes down to the bank, opens said deposit box, and takes your stuff...

    who's liable? you or the bank?

    to me, it's the same idea, really. on the one hand, they really shouldn't be able to take your key in the first place. on the other hand, even With the key, they still shouldn't be able to get in if they're not you. the problem is, that internet banking is automated. that's pretty much the Point. it's the functional equivalent of said deposit box being in a vault... but the same key opens the vault as the box. [or in the cases where there's a separate password, the thief stole both keys]

    on the Other hand, if someone sets up a false account in your name, and then proceeds to rip off the bank, that's Entirely on them, really.

    oh, fun thing: NZ does not have social security numbers, or an equivalent. different entities are not Allowed to have systems that line up by design when assigning you identification numbers for record keeping[fluke chance is a different story]. not even different government departments, i believe. even the Video Rental places typically want photo ID before they'll issue you a card. most places require multiple forms of ID from other entities [passports and drivers licenses preferred] before they'll give you a new document that could be used as even basic ID. and on it goes. it's still not impossible to have one's identity stolen, but it is a lot more hassle.

    also, the concept of stealing credit cards from mailboxes before they've been signed is averted, at least for debit cards, by the fact that you can only change the PIN in the bank itself, [or possibly through internet banking, i guess] and either the PIN and the card are both tied to the account, not directly to each other, or the pin is assigned to the card before the card is sent out. so anyone who steals and signs that card, needs to know the PIN too.

    it's still possible to use a credit card based purely on your signature matching the one on the card in a lot of places, mind you... but only for credit. you can't actually take money that way. and, of course, when one gets the funky bill, one gets hold of the credit card company and says 'hey, i never bought that. what's going on?'. cue investigation.

    umm... it's 7:30 am and i haven't slept yet. i hope that staye dmostly on topic...

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