Bank of America Announces Industry-Leading Security Feature for Its Customers
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Aunty’s bank has this system in place. It’s a pain in the neck, but a good way to be sure that you are actually at your bank’s website. Of course, it requires you to remember what the extra image and phrase are, but, again, it’s a good way to ensure that you are actually at your bank’s website, and not a phisher’s.

Free service provides more ways for the bank to confirm a customer’s identity, while giving customers a new way to confirm that the bank Web site they visit is legitimate


CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 26 /PRNewswire/ — Bank of America’s 13.2 million online banking customers will have a new way to reduce fraud and identity theft with the launch of an industry-leading protection service that helps confirm a customer’s identification, the bank announced today.

Customers can sign up for the service, called SiteKey(TM), for free.

Customers pick an image, write a brief phrase and select three challenge questions. The customer and the bank can pass that information securely back and forth to confirm each other’s identity.

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Bank of America, which has the most online banking customers in the country, is the first major financial services company to provide this added level of security. The service will launch in Tennessee in mid-June and roll out across the country by the end of the year. Using SiteKey is like getting a safe deposit box that takes two keys to open. Before the customer and the bank agree to open the box together, they confirm each other’s identity.

“SiteKey helps you know it’s us and we know it’s you,” said Sanjay Gupta, e-Commerce executive. “It’s a free, personalized partnership that builds trust and security.”

Signing up for SiteKey takes just a few minutes. The image, personal phrase and challenge questions work together to help:

 

* Protect accounts. Someone trying to access an account from an unrecognized computer must answer a challenge question correctly. So even if a customer’s ID and passcode have been stolen through spyware or a phony Web site, the thief still would have to answer a challenge question to get access to the account.

* Confirm the Web site’s validity. When customers log in to Online Banking at http://www.bankofamerica.com , they can click on the SiteKey button to see their secret image and phrase. If the image and phrase don’t appear, the customer could be at a fraudulent site. This capability targets a fraud called spoofing, and will help ensure customers are not fooled by fake versions of bankofamerica.com.

To provide the service, Bank of America partnered with PassMark Security, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company that focuses on authentication systems to fight identity theft and other types of fraud. Online Banking from Bank of America was rated No. 1 for customer safety features by Javelin Strategy & Research in its Identity Fraud Safety Scorecard, even before the launch of SiteKey.

Using online banking can reduce the chances of identity theft and fraud, according to Javelin, which issued a report in January that computer crimes accounted for just 11.6 percent of all identity fraud that could be traced in 2004.

Customers can increase their security by using online banking features such as receiving and paying bills online, and viewing checks and statements online. Those services, which are free at Bank of America, eliminate risks associated with sending items through the mail.

Customers who use online banking also can detect fraud earlier by reviewing their account activity regularly, rather than waiting for a monthly statement in the mail. Javelin found that people who discover fraud by monitoring their accounts online have only 12 percent of the financial impact compared to those who detect fraud offline. Bank of America offers a guarantee that protects customers against unauthorized transactions.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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