Bank Account Thief

Tech-no thanks.


MORE than a quarter of us are “paynuphobes” who avoid
using the latest payment methods because of security concerns.

Fear of mobile banking and contactless cards affects 26% of us –
that’s more than the number who are scared of spiders at 25%,

according to

1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of:

2. In keeping with:

3., the Payment Council’s education

 see neurosis.


Extreme and irrational fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation. A phobia is classified as a type of anxiety disorder (a neurosis), since anxiety is its chief symptom.
 is costing us time and money as more than a fifth have
wasted time queuing to check a bank balance and one in seven has
incurred a late fee because they missed a payment.

It is the risk of thieves gaining access to bank accounts and
personal information that holds many of us back. The Payments Council
says there is no need for these fears because the latest ways to pay are
safe and easy to use and banks have measures to protect customers such
as encrypted websites, security software, deactivation of login details
if a number of incorrect attempts are made and varying types of



But figures from
, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service,
show fraud is at an all-time high and villains are going for high
volume, low value scams as a way to avoid being caught.

 cards, which offer a fast alternative to cash on transactions up
to PS20 with no PIN required on many purchases, are ideal for thieves
looking for a quick, low value
spending spree


And mobiles also offer rich pickings for fraudsters as many people
don’t protect devices with passwords and often store personal
information on them.

Richard Hurley from CIFAS says: “It is no wonder people have
fears about mobile and contactless banking.

“Our latest figures show fraud is at an all-time high and that
the new trend from thieves is for lots of frauds for relatively small
amounts. These don’t get spotted as quickly and so don’t raise
alarm bells. Chip and PIN gives an element of control but contactless
removes that extra level of security and that leaves cards open to

To encourage people to embrace new technologies, the Payments
Council is reassuring people that all methods are tested before going

It said that even if the worst happens, victims are legally
entitled to a full, immediate refund if they haven’t acted
fraudulently or negligently.

Here’s our guide to the latest technology, including what
banks do to help keep you safe and what you can do to prevent crooks
getting your money.



What the banks do: There are lots of behind-the-scenes measures in
place to keep our cash safe online, including detection software to spot
fraudulent transactions.

Banks also work continuously with police and crime agencies to
track down online criminals.

All internet banking services help keep you secure by disguising or
“encrypting” your information and locking your account if
unsuccessful logins are attempted.

What you can do:

If you want to use online banking, contact your bank directly. Most
offer online demos showing you how to use it and many also offer free

antivirus software


Make sure your computer is protected with up-to-date antivirus
operating system

 patches and firewalls – and set your browser
to the highest level of security.

Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for PINs or
passwords – your bank or the police would never ask for these. Always
type your bank’s address into your browser and never follow a link
in an email to enter personal details.

Check for a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol in your browser
window when banking online. The “http” at the beginning of the
website address will change to “https” when it is secure.

Never leave your computer unattended when logged in and always log
off when you’re finished.

Check statements regularly. Notify your bank of any rogue

Fraudsters sometimes try to trick people into making a real payment
by claiming “it’s just a test”.


What the banks do: Offer the same level of protection as
traditional plastic cards, meaning that customers get legal protection
from fraud.

Although a contactless transaction doesn’t usually require a
PIN to be entered, usage is monitored by the chip on the card.

A maximum number of consecutive contactless transactions is set
before the
One who holds a card, especially a credit card.

 is required to tap in their PIN. This is designed
to deter and limit fraudulent use. The data from contactless payment
cards cannot be re-used by a


a person who commits a fraud; swindler
 to create a counterfeit card.

What you can do:

Contactless cards can only be read from about 5cm away, so
it’s a good idea to take it out of your wallet to pay, particularly
if you have more than one or a travel card like an
Oyster card

Front and back of an early Oyster card. Newer cards have the roundel in white.
Larger versions: Front • Back

The Oyster card

Whether your card is contactless or not, you should report it
immediately to your bank if it’s lost or stolen. This lets your
card company put a stop on the card straight away. All card companies
have 24-hour phone lines to enable you to do this.

If a mistake should occur while using a contactless card, a refund
can be processed immediately in the store. If the error is noticed at a
later date, your card company will be able to help.


What the banks do: All mobile banking apps are security protected
with a

 and password system as a minimum.

If someone else unsuccessfully tries to access your account, it
will be locked. You benefit from exactly the same secure
behind-the-scenes systems that process all other types of electronic
payment and get the same legal protection from fraud.

What you can do:

If you use an app to access online banking on the go, only use the
official app provided by your bank. If in doubt, contact your bank to
check. Only download apps from official stores such as

Apple iTunes, Google Play and BlackBerry World.

Ensure you keep your smartphone’s operating system updated
with the latest security patches and upgrades.

Think carefully before removing any security controls from your
mobile device. This is known as jailbreaking, or rooting, your device.

This will weaken the security and can also expose you to additional

Some banks may restrict their service to mobile devices that have
been jailbroken or rooted.

Do not give your mobile banking security details, including your
passcode, to anyone and don’t store these on your device. For added
security, set up a password or PIN to lock your mobile phone or tablet

Just like your computer, there are anti-virus tools for mobile

Some banks offer customers free anti-virus software for mobile
phones, so check your bank’s website.

Be wary of clicking on links in texts or emails. Don’t respond
to unsolicited messages or voicemails on your phone. Your bank will
never email you or send you a text message that asks you to disclose
your PIN or full password.


MUM Linda Stubberfield admits that she is a paynuphobe when it
comes to contactless cards and using her mobile phone for making
payments. But she is happy to do her banking online.

“I feel in control when banking online as I have 24-hour
access to my account so I can check for any irregularities and spot them
instantly,” says Linda, 60, from Sidcup in Kent.

“My son keeps the anti-virus software on my computer up to
date and I keep changing my password. I like the convenience too.

“But when it comes to contactless technology or using my
mobile for banking, they are both definitely a no-go for me. I
don’t feel like the financial institutions have given me enough
reassurance that either is safe.

“So many mobile phones get stolen and crooks can always find a
way to get into the data stored on them. I feel like contactless
payments are open to abuse, I don’t really see the point of them.

“Chip and PIN was brought in to make
debit card
 card that allows the cost of goods or services that are purchased to be deducted directly from the purchaser’s checking account. They can also be used at automated teller machines for withdrawing cash from the user’s checking account.
 payments more
secure and I can’t see why they would take that away.

“I’m a bit old school. Younger people are brought up with
technology and don’t know anything else or see any of the dangers
and so don’t question it. Also, older people will have a lot more
at risk if someone gets access to their accounts or information.

“A lot more needs to be done to make people like me feel
secure and confident to use mobile technologies.”


CONTROL Linda won’t use mobile