Monday, May 23, 2005

Four Banks Involved in Security Breach

Bank of America, Wachovia, Commerce Bank and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. are cooperating with authorities in a purposeful theft of account information of more than 670,000 customers. The number of accounts targeted may be over 1 million.

Some are calling it "the biggest security breach to hit the banking industry."

I have been following this case, and indeed it is disturbing that bank employees, who are trusted with access to customers' accounts (and all that cash) sold customer account information, according to police.

Bank employees, including high-level employees, were paid $10 per account.

So all that tight security was defeated by a piece of paper with Alexander Hamilton's face on it.

Thus far, though, it is not clear if identity theft has resulted, since the information was apparently ultimately sold to collection agencies.

Wachovia customers whose account information was stolen will receive complimentary one-year credit monitoring service and each account will also be monitored by the bank, according to Wachovia, which is certainly a good idea.

A Bank of America spokeswoman said the bank would notifying all the customers whose information was compromised.

It may well turn out there is little risk of a loss of funds or identity theft, but, given the fact that the bank's own employees may have been directly responsible for the theft, it might be a good idea for all banks to go the extra mile for their customers.

If you can't trust your bank, who can you trust?

And if you can't trust your bank, why should you keep your money there?


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