Number one in Identity Theft?

How do you become known as the #1 bank in America for helping protect people from Identity Theft?
Well, it’s quite simple actually.
The Javelin Strategy and Research firm, which evaluated 24 major banks, awarded the top three banks similar marks for their ability to help protect customer data. Here’s some of the strong points, from the last year or so, that you should consider if you wish to be among the top three.
First, it would be a good idea to lose 2.6 million customer records belonging to Circuit City credit card holders. Accidentally take the records to a landfill and bury them.
Next, you could find yourself among the best by allowing several data breaches to take place. Accidently leave digital doors open, or even physical doors, so that your customers’ information can leave with a criminal. Make sure that when you’re shipping information, you use a company that will lose data tapes for 145,000 government and military cardholders.
After that, make sure that your executives have limitless access to sell customer information for personal and corporate gain, and while you’re at it, incentivize employees to open new accounts in the name of your customers.

(If you haven’t yet caught that this is satirical, now would be a good time to pick up on that.)
There are undoubtedly some people inside of these banks who are working extremely hard to make sure your information stays secure. To these people, the customers of those banks owe a huge debt of gratitude.
But why are these companies (a bank is, after all, a company) even talking about awards for technologies to protect our credit and banking information from Identity Theft?
Why are we not talking about ways to revise the ways our social security numbers are used?
Why are we not talking about putting walls of protection around individuals, where they’re most vulnerable.
While some very intelligent people should be awarded for the software and technologies they have created to protect people’s information, the fact remains that their employers, these banks, are hiring and assigning them to create solutions to address the symptoms of a much larger disease.
Identity Theft, and the ease with which thieves can commit this atrocity, is a much larger problem than something that can be solved by the “adoption of “two-factor” authentication” or some other similar method.
Here’s a novel idea for the banks and card companies – make my information less valuable to a thief.
Suddenly, the problem of Identity Theft begins to become much less severe.
If the lobbies for the banks got together and demanded changes in the laws surrounding our social security numbers, and demanded that the credit bureaus and medical information bureau and Social Security Administration used something to verify us other than a silly little 9 digit number… if these very powerful lobbyists were willing to use their power to cut through the symptoms and attack the root of the problem, that would TRULY be something worth awarding.
For now, I’ll stick with my local bank, and move my money away from all the companies mentioned below. I recommend you find a way to do the same.
The banks involved in the judging for this *award* included AmSouth, Bank of America, Bank of New York, BB&T, Citibank, E*Trade, Fifth Third Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Marshall & Ilsley Bank, National City Bank, Navy FCU, NetBank, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust, Union Bank of California, US Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo,


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3 Responses to “Number one in Identity Theft?”

  1. Mila Says:

    The problem isn’t just with banks. There are many instances when a Social Security Number isn’t necessary for a business transaction but is requested anyway. Ultimately, with institutions such as a bank, we can choose who to do business with. Much like you’ve done, others can choose to give their information and money to banks that have not experienced a security breach.
    If these organizations won’t do all they can to protect us, we must take initiative to research their security practices and data breach history when choosing a banking solution.

  2. Identity Theft Super Sleuth Says:

    This is an awesome point from Mila! We must all make choices as to what our money is ultimately going to support.
    If the banks don’t support policies that protect private information, both on an internal level (within their companies), and on an external level (in terms of laws and rules being passed by the FTC and Congress), then they’re not worthy to hold our money.
    What this requires, however, is that consumers become more educated about what their banks are actually doing.

  3. kittyjack Says:

    Unfortunately, getting people as a whole to become educated enough to make smarter banking choices is like trying to get people to make better eating choices. There will always be enough ignorant or uneducated (or even non-caring) people out there to support even the worst banking policies and security measures.