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Victims of financial crime. Could you be next?

Did you know that according to a recent report from Javelin there’s a one in ten chance that money will be fraudulently withdrawn from your bank account? Face it. That means you have a good chance of being next. It’s not just about the bank’s reputation, but also yours.

So what can you do about it? Talk to your bank and find out what preventative measures are being taken. Find out how they’re protecting the money in your account and most importantly, ask questions.

  •  If money is withdrawn from your account fraudulently, how do you limit the damage?
  • Just how much money can they remove?
  • Should you link the card you use for online shopping to your bank account?
  • What basic defences can you put in place to detect fraudulent withdrawals? e.g. SMS or email alerts

Lastly, find out where you stand when money is fraudulently removed from your account. Is the bank responsible, and will it reimburse any lost money?

Tackling financial crime is still a big challenge for many organizations and the technology arms race will continue against criminals. By taking preventative measures you stand a better chance of staying ahead in the race.


Comments: (3)

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 23 August, 2010, 18:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

How does Javelin arrive at the 10% figure? The number of people with bank accounts in the world is at least one billion. This means that 100 million people are likely to have money fraudulently withdrawn from their bank account over the next year. Frankly, this is rubbish. Read the outstanding small paperback called How to Lie with Statistics, written by Darrell Huff in 1954, and still very relevant today.

Javelin are extrapolating a very small survey and trying to get headlines.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 August, 2010, 11:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


One limitation of writing short blogs is “missing the detail”. So, my apologies if I generalized too much here.

The Javelin report I referred to is (to quote them) "A nationally representative sample" consisting of 5,000 U.S. adults, including 703 fraud victims".

So this is more a representation of the situation in the USA rather than the whole world.

Yet I think there is enough evidence to show that this problem is just as big outside the USA. Both in Europe and in Asia, there are surveys and reports supporting this.

For example, the UK Payments Administration (in March 2010) revealed that online banking fraud had experienced a 14% increase in 2009. Identity theft and account takeover also continue to be growth areas for criminals irrespective of whether you focus on the USA, Europe, or other parts of the world.

CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, also reported an increase of 32% in identity during 2009 and a 16% rise in reported bank account takeover fraud during the same period. More alarmingly, they report an overall increase in account takeover fraud of 238% from January 2008 to December 2009.

So,  while I understand the need to be skeptical of surveys and statistics, I hope you agree that the overall picture is clear: financial crime is definitely rising and will very likely effect average people like you or me in the near future, if not already. Learning to take action to protect yourself from financial crime is therefore not a bad thing to start doing.

By the way, you can check out the details of the Javelin report for yourself.  There is a public version at


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 August, 2010, 18:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Javelin goes to great lengths to publish our research methodology statements because we are committed to transparency and fact-based conclusions.Unfortunately we cannot force people to read such important information. Occasionally, individuals will create a hilarity of themselves by making unfounded criticisms without conducting their *own* proper research. This industry needs less unintended irony, less poorly-researched grandstanding and more of a factual perspective at drawing conclusions. 

By the way Richard, nice original post and thank you for citing sources and methodologies in your polite response. Here's hoping we can return the thread to productivity civility.

To that end: is anyone tracking the US government's stated intention to set interchange limits based on card issuer's perceived 'fraud prevention' capabilities? If this carries through it could be a boon to fraud mitigation investments, potentially even helping with the case for chip cards. 

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