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Safe Internet Practice Key To Preventing Fraud

Safe Internet practices key to locking out Internet fraudsters

Bank of New Zealand is reassuring customers that Internet Banking is safe, after widespread publicity reported that Bank of New Zealand, along with most other New Zealand banks, have blocked Marketscore customers from accessing their websites.

Bank of New Zealand’s General Manager for Channels, Shona Bishop, says the number of customers affected is “miniscule”.

“We don’t know the exact number of customers that use Marketscore, but it’s roughly 1000 or so. When you consider we have close to 300,000 Internet Banking customers, the number affected is 0.3 per cent of our customer base.”

Ms Bishop says the decision to block Marketscore customers from accessing www.bnz.co.nz is purely a precautionary one. “No one has lost any money through Marketscore, but we’re very uncomfortable that Marketscore have the ability to identify our customers’ Internet Banking login and passwords.

“It's the cyber equivalent of giving a stranger the keys to the front door of your home - and the alarm code at the same time.”

US-based Marketscore offers customers faster Internet access, and uses software to monitor the online activities and habits of users. The information they gather on customers is on-sold to companies, who often use the data for advertising purposes.

Ms Bishop says people should think twice before allowing third parties, such as Marketscore, to add software to their computers. “These third party sites can potentially see everything customers do on the Internet, regardless of whether they are visiting a secure site or not.

“Essentially, they are allowing strangers to potentially see them pay a phone bill, book an airline ticket, or make a bank funds transfer online.”

Ms Bishop says no amount of security can stop fraudsters from accessing Internet Banking customers’ accounts, if people don’t take the necessary precautions to ensure their own computers are safe.

“You wouldn’t drive without your seatbelt on. Nor should you go on the Internet without up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls. If people do all they can protect their own computers, the chances of hit by Internet fraud, and Internet Banking fraud in particular, are very low.”

She says people need to be careful about where they access Internet Banking. “Customers should steer clear of public computers such as those found at Internet cafes. A fraudster may be operating behind the scenes waiting for their next web victim.”

Ms Bishop says that compared to credit card, cheque, and even cash fraud, the number of people hit by Internet Banking fraud is tiny. “People probably have a higher chance of being hit by a car crossing the road, than being victims of Internet Banking fraud.”

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