Bank of America customers in Tennessee have a new way to help prevent fraud and identity theft with the launch of an industry-leading protection service they received this week with their Online Banking.
Tennessee customers are the first in the country to get the new service, called SiteKey, which is free. Customers pick one of thousands of images, write a brief phrase and select three challenge questions. The customer and the bank can pass that information securely back and forth to confirm each other's identity.
Using SiteKey is like getting a safe deposit box that takes two keys to open. Before the customer and the bank agree to open the box together, they confirm each other's identity.
Bank of America, which has the most online banking customers in the country, is the first major financial services company to provide this added level of security. The service was announced in May and is being rolled out across the country throughout the year.
"SiteKey helps you know it's us and we know it's you," said Sanjay Gupta, e-Commerce executive. "It's a free way to increase your online security, and it's easy because you don't need extra hardware or other equipment."
Signing up for SiteKey takes just a few minutes and is free. The image, personal message and challenge questions work together to help:
- Confirm the Web site's validity. When customers log in to Online Banking they can click on the SiteKey button to see their secret image and phrase. If the image and phrase don't appear, the customer could be at a fraudulent site. This capability targets a fraud called spoofing, and will help ensure customers are not fooled by fake versions of bankofamerica.com.
- Protect accounts. Someone trying to access an account from an unrecognized computer must answer a challenge question correctly. So even if a customer's ID and passcode have been stolen through spyware or a phony Web site, the thief still would have to answer a challenge question to get access to the account.
SiteKey is the newest way to use online banking to help prevent identity theft and fraud. Customers also can receive bills, pay bills, as well as view checks and statements online - eliminating risks associated with sending items through the mail.
Customers who use online banking can detect fraud earlier by reviewing their account activity regularly, rather than waiting for a monthly statement in the mail. Bank of America offers a guarantee that protects customers against unauthorized transactions.