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Wife bans FBI boss from banking online

09 October 2009  |  14487 views  |  1 ID Fraud

FBI chief Robert Mueller has been banned from banking online by his wife after almost getting sucked in by an e-mail phishing scam.

Mueller's admission came on the same day his organisation revealed it had charged 100 people in connection with a phishing operation that stole around $1.5 million.

In a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, the director revealed that he recently received an e-mail purporting to be from his bank that looked "perfectly legitimate" and asked for verification of some information.

Mueller began following the instructions before realising "this might not be such a good idea" and quickly changing all the family's passwords. He thought this would be the end of the matter, telling Mrs Mueller it was a "teachable moment".

She disagreed, replying: "It is not my teachable moment. However, it is our money. No more Internet banking for you!"

The FBI director admits he should have known better and retold the story in his speech to illustrate the importance of vigilance when it comes to cybercrime.

"Cybercrime is a nebulous concept. It is difficult to grasp intangible threats, and easy to dismiss them as unlikely to happen to you. So far, too little attention has been paid to cyber threats-and their consequences."

You can read the full text of the speech here.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 09 October, 2009, 16:45

Boy, those comments really concern me. While Internet banking brings clear opportunities for fraudsters via phishing, malware, unsecured connections and so forth, it's also the accountholder's best opportunity for at least two vital safety improvements: 1) turn off those risky paper checks and bank statements and 2) monitor accounts for fraud (occurring via any channel or method, including even bank branches). Our data show that early detection is clearly correlated with lower consumer losses and meanwhile mail delivery remains a significant threat, so unless you live next to an ATM your best channel for turning off the paper and catching fraud early is a secure, safely-used online one. No one channel is without risk or safety opportunities, so it's really about the behavior and provider best practices. Our law enforcement leaders must be very careful to educate consumers about both risks and safety improvements that are inherent in online banking. 

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