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Warning on rising bank account fraud

Date: November 28, 2004
Source: Financial Times
By: Bob Sherwood

Criminals are using dormant bank accounts in a rising tide of computer fraud, the City of London's top fraud police officer has warned. Det Chief Supt Ken Farrow, head of the force's economic crime department, told a financial management conference in London: "The level of fraud on dormant accounts is huge. It's quite terrifying what is going on." Dormant accounts are an attractive target for fraudsters because their crime can go undetected for a long time. Det Chief Supt Farrow said he was so alarmed by the expertise used that when he sold a house this year he went to a cash machine every day to check the money in his account had not been stolen.

He told the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants conference that many forces refused to investigate fraud cases because they consumed large resources for little reward. There were only 600 fraud police officers in the country, he said, and only 300 of them would be working on fraud cases on any given day. Det Chief Supt Farrow said criminals came "very close" to stealing 175m from a London-based bank last week. The robbery was prevented only by a "quirk" in the bank's internal systems. He declined to identify the bank.
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