During the past year, NBC Nightly News, more than any other national show, has publicized fraud concerns in the online channel. They played a large role in publicizing the $90,000 apparent key-logging loss by a Bank of America small business customer in Florida. They also covered, rather sloppily, last summer’s flawed Gartner study about multi-billion dollar losses in identity theft.
The most recent story, which appeared on television last night, covered demand draft fraud initiated at Qchex.com among other locations. The NBC Nightly News story appears to have been based primarily on a May 24 article by MSNBC’s Bob Sullivan in his closely watched online column on ecommerce. Sullivan was also the primary source for the Gartner story.
When NBC goes on the air pointing fingers at the banking industry’s security practices, you better be ready with a response. Your branches and customer support personnel should be briefed on the subject and be prepared to answer customer concerns. You should also prepare a response in your online service HELP/FAQ area that addresses the issue.
In the future, you might want to pay attention to Bob Sullivan’s columns. If he’s writing about it, and if it’s a new twist on an Internet scam, there’s a good chance the Nightly News will pick it up. Had you been reading his column yesterday morning at 8:15 am, you’d have had a day to prepare damage control.
As far as solving the demand draft problem, that’s something we’ll leave to the regulators. But requiring Internet originators like Qchex.com to verify account ownership before processing a debit, would be a good first start.