Do the Big Banks Do Enough to Keep Identity Safe?

In previous posts I’ve talked about identity theft and ways to prevent fraud, but are our banks doing enough to protect its customers from identity theft? Recently thousands of consumers’ personal information was stolen from Wells Fargo. MicroBilt which is the self-proclaimed “single source industry leader in risk management information” notified Wells Fargo of the breach caused by a stolen employee code. Wells Fargo declined to comment on what alerted MicroBilt. So how did Wells Fargo make this up to their customers? They offered them a one-year free subscription to their identity theft protection service. I feel this service should already be free and mandatory to all customers and not only to those who may have had their identity stolen.

In similar news, thieves made off with ATM PIN Codes and account numbers from Citibank ATMs. Does this mean that Citibank ATM PIN numbers were not encrypted like they were supposed to be? The bank has about 5,700 ATMs, owned and operated by Cardtronics Inc and Fiserv Inc, inside 7-Eleven stores across the United States. How were these hackers able to access the system? Citibank has refused to comment much like Wells Fargo.

It appears that banking institutions have not learned their lesson after the Card Systems Breach in 2005.  As consumers and business owners, we would like to think that the banks are on our side. Homecomings, a subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services that originated $18 billion in residential mortgages last year, claimed that the Korinkes family had been negligent on a $75,000 line of credit. The Korinkes were slow to discover and report the identity theft that was found while refinancing their home, and that “caused the injury to Homecomings,” according to the lawsuit. “As such, Korinke is liable for any and all sums attributed to his negligence.” In many cases banks don’t hold identity theft victims liable for bills incurred by imposters.  Other victims are finding out the hard way that consumers really can lose their money.  Are banks getting off to easy?  Should we impose stricter guidelines on banks to ensure more security against identity theft?