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
    herodotus (profile), 20 Aug 2009 @ 2:37am

    "Yes, the bank should be responsible for running a secure, safe system, where a user has a reasonable expectation of security from the bank.

    But the user is not just a spectator in this game. We are active players with a role to fill - not to get duped into giving up our credentials. It's not the banks job to protect us from ourselves. At what point do we take responsibility for our own mistakes?"


    I have found that you are much more likely to hear an individual say 'it was my fault' than you are to the representative of a bank say 'it was our fault'.

    When someone (the police never did figure out who) printed up a bunch of checks that had our account number and someone else's name on them, no one at the bank noticed. There were dozens of checks, all cashed within a couple of days, all with our account number and the fake person's name.

    Somehow, it just doesn't seem like that much of a hassle to verify that the name on a check matches the one on the account before cashing it.

    When we finally noticed what was going on, the bank had no process in place to help us out. No one could answer our questions. We finally went to the corporate office and talked to the only helpful woman we met in the whole experience, and got the whole thing cleared up.

    This was over a month later.

    The funny part was that and one of her co workers had told her 'you know, you don't have to help these people' before she came to help us.

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