Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Opportunity for Identity Thieves

According to a news report I recently saw on the Internet, banks are now issuing credit cards that can be waved over a reader rather than swiped (similar to a key card that unlocks doors to buildings). I guess swiping a card is just too much trouble. The only problem is, if a person with a portable card reader can get close enough to you, your information can be read and recorded on a small computer. Somebody has just stolen your credit card information and can order thousands of dollars worth of stuff and you don’t even know you’ve been robbed! It’s high-tech pick-pocketing, thanks to the banks who issue such cards.

This makes me wonder, what are the banks that issue credit cards thinking? Everybody is concerned with identity theft, yet every month we get blank checks from our credit card carriers in the mail. I don’t want them, I’ve never used them, and I can’t make them stop sending them. Not only do these checks provide a temptation for people to spend money they don’t have and may not be able to pay back, but they also provide an opportunity for identity theft or forgery. Every month I must shred these unwanted checks for my own protection as well as the bank’s.

Now the geniuses at Bank of America, Chase, and other credit and debit card issuing banks have come up with a new way for people to be robbed. Don’t these folks consult their security people about potential risks of new technologies? Given the history of banks over the past few decades (remember the S&L crisis and the bad loans to Latin American countries of the late 20th century?), I just don’t understand how bank executives make decisions. One positive thing, business schools can use these cases as opportunities to teach their students what not to do!

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