Fraudsters turn to insiders as bank security tightens

Increased security at financial institutions is driving criminals to recruit “insiders” to help with fraud schemes, police officials have said.

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Increased security at financial institutions is driving criminals to recruit “insiders” to help with fraud schemes, police officials have said.

Steve Wilmott, head of the economic crime department at the City of London police force, said 35% of his unit’s work now involved “some insider element” – a sharp rise compared with about 10% eight or nine years ago.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Wilmot attributed the shift partly to increased security measures put in place to thwart external attacks. “It’s so much harder to tackle a bank from the outside,” he said. “So they get someone on the inside – right from the very low levels to a high level.”

Figures released by UK payments association Apacs last month show the amount stolen by online banking fraudsters has risen 44% in a year, from £23.2m in 2005 to £33.5m last year. But losses from payment card fraud fell slightly, from £439.4m in 2005 to £428.0m in 2006, with a much sharper 47% fall in card fraud losses at UK retailers – showing the continuing impact of chip and PIN technology.

But the Apacs fraud figures do not identify how much of the fraud uses insiders or inside information from bank staff.

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