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72% of Banks Say Their Employees Committed Fraud

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the by-the-wheelbarrow-full dept.

Security 272

yahoi writes "The financial crisis appears to be exacerbating fraud by bank employees: a new survey found that 72 percent of financial institutions say that in the last 12 months they have experienced a case of data theft by one of their workers. Meanwhile, most banks don't want to talk about the insider threat problem and remain in denial, says a former Wachovia Bank executive who handled insider fraud incidents at the bank and has co-authored a new book called Insidious — How Trusted Employees Steal Millions and Why It's So Hard for Banks to Stop Them that investigates several real-world insider fraud cases at banks." The article dispels one assumption that might commonly be made about such insider fraud: "Interestingly, it's not the stereotypical offshore or outsourced employee who's most risky to their organizations. Nearly 70 percent of financial institutions say their full-time employees are most likely to pose an insider fraud threat..." Technology workers placed third in the roster of the job categories most abused.

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Seems low (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653349)

Is that not counting executives?

Re:Seems low (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653415)

I'm pretty sure that it only the intersection of "actions which are illegal" and "actions which harm the bank's interests" counts as fraud for their purposes...

Re:Seems low (3, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653469)

Fractional reserve banking IS fraud!

Re:Seems low (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653513)

Fractional reserve banking IS fraud!

No, it's statistics and psychology (and nowadays, also a bit of government assistance).

Re:Seems low (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653583)

Also, there is an alternative to fractional-reserve banking! It's called a "mattress". Fat lot of good it's going to do you (or anyone else, for that matter).

For the rest of us, we have FDIC insurance and that's really about as good as it gets in this day and age, unless you trust the commodity markets (and while they're a useful hedge, the "rah rah rah, gold is king" attitude is over the top and probably going to come back and bite a few people. Although it's not so much crazy as the people who suggest an "oil standard". Right, tie your currency to the whims of OPEC and Venezuela, and let me know how that works out for you...)

Re:Seems low (3, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653649)

> FDIC insurance

Riiiight. When the government is bankrupt, it _can't_ payout. Least in the old days you had _some_ assets to cover your debts, and one just couldn't "print" more pseudo-assets. Regardless, the problem is borrowing more then you can cover.

Re:Seems low (4, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653699)

If shit gets that bad, I hope you're investing in bacon and not gold.

Re:Seems low (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653715)

Dr. Zoidberg: Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor.

Re:Seems low (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654363)

If shit gets that bad, I hope you're investing in bacon and not gold.

I'm Jewish you insensitive clod.

Re:Seems low (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653723)

> FDIC insurance

Riiiight. When the government is bankrupt,

the value of the US dollar will drop to the same value as the Monopoly dollar, and you'll have much bigger problems on your hands than the movement of small green pieces of paper.

Re:Seems low (1)

ekhben (628371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654073)

The monopoly dollar is currently pegged to the US dollar, so unless Hasbro changes their virtual economy to peg a different currency, float, or use a basket that isn't dominated by the US dollar, that will never happen.

... but I see your point! :-)

Re:Seems low (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653837)

Riiiight. When the government is bankrupt, it _can't_ payout.

If you really believe that the government will falter to such a degree that it will not be able to honor its FDIC obligations, I suggest you remove your funds from your bank, and put them into food storage, ammunition and firearms, and other dystopian future necessities.

Least in the old days you had _some_ assets to cover your debts, and one just couldn't "print" more pseudo-assets.

If you're talking about the dollar being backed by the gold standard, this is just as big of an illusion of security as current paper currency is. The only reason gold was ever considered valuable in the "old days" was due to its scarcity, and relying on an object's absolute physical availability to determine it's value is flawed in an economy of our size. If we tried to back the GDP of countries like the US, Canada, Russia, Europe, etc., with gold we'd have run out of the metal a long time ago.

The funny thing is that gold has only recently become really valuable as a commodity with the advent of integrated circuits and other electronic components that make use of it. If society really does degenerate to the point some people think it will all the gold in the world won't help you. People will need and want to trade for required things like ammunition, canned food, fuels, etc. After that comes the vices such as cigarettes, alcohol, and toilet paper. Gold is going to be waaay down the list.

If you're really worried about money for the post-apocalyptic society of tomorrow, I'd suggest you start collecting bottle caps.

Re:Seems low (3, Insightful)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653997)

If you really believe that the government will falter to such a degree that it will not be able to honor its FDIC obligations, I suggest you remove your funds from your bank,

if only they were redeemable in gold and silver as once US constitution stated...

If i am not mistaken recently FDIC announced that it has nowhere near the amount of money needed to meet its obligations, bacause situation in the bank sector is in much worse shape than they predicted - we are talking about tens or even hundreds of billions. What it means? More and more T-bills - so people will pay through the nose (taxes) for the illusory safety of their wealth or will be robbed of their purchasing power (money printing)

And if you want to see how the total decay of monetary system looks, just read about Zimbabwe with its few million percent inflation or look for some clips on youtube. People in Zimbabwe pay for their daily bread at the village market with gold and don't accept anything else as a payment for their merchandise.

Gold was, is and will universally recognized as something valuable in majority of cultures. Even world of Fallout wouldn't change it because there would be continuity of humanity and there would be no reason for gold to suddenly lose its cultural meaning - gold value is deeply entrenched in people's minds. That's more that what we can say about paper currency.

Re:Seems low (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653757)

You also think the FHA isn't going to bust too don't you?

And how would an "oil standard" tie your currency to the whims of OPEC and Venezuela (not that I think such a thing would be a good idea)...

If you made the currency redeemable then spikes in the price of oil would be deflationary and falls in the price of oil would provide an opportunity for the government to create inflation (though they wouldn't actually have to do so, but of course they would being the government and all).

If it wasn't redeemable then it would just reduce the opportunity for the government to create inflation on a whim.

So one option would let OPEC create a deflationary environment. But in all likelihood it would just act as a brake on inflation.

Personally I suggest a "politician kidney" backed currency.

Re:Seems low (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654217)

Fractional reserve banking IS fraud!

No, it's statistics and psychology (and nowadays, also a bit of government assistance).

It certainly makes use of statistics and psychology and is made possible, not merely assisted, by government regulation. However it also meets the criteria for fraud IMO.

Most people think banks loan out money from deposits. In reality the money they loan out is newly created "checkbook money" as confirmed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago [chicagofed.org] [pdf warning] To achieve this goal, the Fed works to control money at its source by affecting the ability of financial institutions to "create" checkbook money through loans or investments.

The average person is deceived about how banking works and the banks make money through the practice of that deception. With the government backing they have it doesn't work the same as if it were a privately conducted fraud. The impoverish the country instead of a specific individual who does business with them.

Re:Seems low (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653423)

It's not really "fraud" if you're reasonably up front about what you're going to do. "Pay me millions and millions of dollars, and I will run your company for you for a while." Duh-otay.

And hey, some of the time it's worth it.

Re:Seems low (1, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653441)

The thieves and pirates shouldn't seem surprised by the fact that their employees also take from them. The degraded ethical standard of the banking shell-game must be transparently obvious to those operating from within. Insolvent giants, with fraudulent assets, charge interest to loan out what they don't possess themselves, and award the tangible proceeds into executive compensation!

Taking from these bastards? It's like pulling a trinket off the dragon's horde.

Break the copiers, and sabotage the telex lines, while you're at it, folks!

Re:Seems low (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653483)

Seems low? You're right. They misspelled "trillions".

Re:Seems low (1, Flamebait)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653593)

Oh, please. The collapse of the banking sector's not fraud. Recklessness, certainly, but don't attribute too much to malice when there's plenty of stupidity to go around. :P

Re:Seems low (4, Insightful)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653881)

Actually, it is. When you sell a house to someone with no money, that's fraud. Especially when you know you're doing it.

Also something called "naked short-selling", which involves selling non-existent stock. It happens millions of times per day, everyone does it, and nobody complains. Bear and Lehman stock was counterfeited so rapidly, the stock plummeted to zero within days.

It's the thug life, right? No fraud in the hood. Drugs, guns, murder - that's just recklessness and stupidity.

Re:Seems low (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654171)

Oh, please. The collapse of the banking sector's not fraud. Recklessness, certainly, but don't attribute too much to malice when there's plenty of stupidity to go around. :P

Fraud doesn't imply malice, it implies greed.

All fractional reserve banking is fraud.

Re:Seems low (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653529)

28% of banks are small enough to keep track of the behaviour of all their employees.

Re:Seems low (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654291)

You know what? I seriously doubt it.

I think it's infinitely more likely that 28% of banks questioned said "No comment".

Re:Seems low (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654385)

Or went red in the face and said "no I'm sure that absolutely nobody here would ever commit fraud", as they try to cover up their vintage Rolex with the sleeve of their hand-made Savile Row suite.

Re:Seems low (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654559)

You ever tried covering up a rolex with a sofa and two chairs?

Sure, it's easy to do but it's damn hard to do discreetly.

Re:Seems low (2, Interesting)

Garridan (597129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653619)

Well, TFA says:

Nearly 60 percent of the respondents in the survey ranked tellers and traders as the highest risk of insider fraud, followed by administrative/back office (55.74 percent), technology (34.43 percent), executive/senior management (29.51 percent), call center (29.51 percent), and line of business (26.63) employees.

Now, this strikes me a little odd. What do these percentages even mean? if 60% of respondents ranked tellers and traders as highest and 55.74 percent ranked admin/back office as highest, then 15% of the respondents don't know what "highest" means. A little arithmetic indicates that some 235% is accounted for here. Sounds like a case of ZOMG 235% OF OUR EMPLOYEES ARE STEELING! to me.

Re:Seems low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654337)

Well Call center fraud is largely determined by accountability.

Call centers have your SSN's, it may not be idiot fraud, it may be identity fraud. Just call centers security tends to be contracted out to people who don't know anything about the actual business.

I'll give you a perfectly good example
YOU call the call center, you verify with the call center rep all the information needed to do stuff with your account. You hang up.

What you didn't hear go on, is that rep wrote down that information in PENCIL on PAPER, and walked out the front door of the call center. Later when this guy is fired for something stupid, he will call back into the call center using YOUR credentials and **** with your account.

Don't believe me? Look up the customer sucks type of websites, and you will see this practice is very common among call centers, worse with outsourced call centers because they are treated like garbage by their client.

If Banks (or any customer-oriented business) want to prevent fraud like this from happening (and the inevitable customer lawsuit,) they need to pay their staff reasonable wages, not outsource any jobs that deal with identity information, and generally treat them respectfully. For some reason American management appears to employ "demand unreasonable metrics above customer service" People don't get customer service because they are under the gun to get you off the phone as fast as possible.

Re:Seems low (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653829)

28% of banks are lying.
The other 72% are probably lying about the extent.

I'm a fraudulent banking insider ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653911)

... and I am getting a kick out of these replies.

Re:Seems low (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654277)

It's not fraud when the bank says it's ok.

Denial? (4, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653371)

If 72% of financial institutions say they've experienced data theft, how do "most banks" remain in denial? It sounds like "most banks" just admitted it.

Also, I'm not sure data theft is the same as fraud.

Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653503)

They're in denial because they are not aware of the full seriousness of the issue.

I discovered something that amazed me. I was trying to resolve a client's quite simple software issue. I worked with managers of two large banks (tens or hundreds of thousands of commercial accounts). I discovered that one of the banks had no technically-knowledgeable employees, except for computer maintenance staff. They used contractors for everything else. The contractors with whom I talked had little technical knowledge.

The other bank had either no one who was technically-knowledgeable or just a few people.

They don't have just have problems with fraud, they have problems in every area where technical knowledge is needed. They cannot resolve modern problems because they have little or no knowledge of them, and they don't want to learn. Technically knowledgeable people are apparently seen as an annoying necessity.

With employees of a third large bank, at which I have personal and business accounts, I found that I could get a laugh by saying I saw their web site and thought that high school students should not write web sites for banks. Later the web site was improved.

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653609)

Good help is hard to find. Worse, it costs money.

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653669)

How true is that really right now? I know tons of smart technical people out of work right now. Good help is easy to find. The banks just don't see any need for it.

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653731)

Well, a decent techie probably costs them about 150 grand a year if you include related overhead. Thus, they figure the yearly "loss" by *not* having such an employee is less than 150 grand a year. It may not actually be true, but they have no way of knowing.

A lot of times a company ends up with a stupid or shifty IT employee that causes more problems than their worth. If the bank is technically ignorant, then they don't have a good way to filter. Techies raise almost as much ire as auto-mechanics. Both may charge 10 grand to "fix" the Flux Capacitor.

     

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (4, Insightful)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653937)

True. There is a disconnect. Techies don't have the personality to actively brand themselves, and clients don't have the technical skills to appreciate good help.

That's why the most successful techies have good personalities and only a moderate amount of skill.

Example, the last time I had the cable guy over the house, he had never seen Tivo and had no idea that high-def recording or live streaming existed. He didn't know that Windows XP 32 and 64-bit were different (his software failed on my platform), and it was futile to explain the difference. He had never seen a 40" TV used as a computer monitor, either.

But I'm sure he's supporting a family of four. He's mature, been doing it for a while and probably has a great resume.

Now, if you want to go into business as a cable tech, how do you differentiate yourself from this guy, who knows absolutely nothing, and has a better reputation than you do?

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654335)

While I'd love to believe the bank has actually run the figures to work out exactly how much fraud they think they're suffering, what areas it's happening in and how much it will cost to eliminate, I don't.

Largely because any given fraudulent act by definition only works if nobody else knows about it.

It follows that if the bank has run the figures, those figures are based on estimates (at best) or wild guesses (at worst).

Add on the fact that banks are famously resistant to change and would much rather go begging for money than admit they cocked up on an astronomical scale.

Are you telling me that these companies have actually sat down and said "Right. We know we are losing $X to fraud, but in order to eliminate even a small percentage of it we're going to have to spend $X * 2" when they can't even sit down and say "Hmmm.... this policy of giving mortgages of 120% of a houses' value to people whose salary is about a tenth of the mortgage when we know that historically house prices have fluctuated.... there's no way this could backfire, is there?"?

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654395)

Banks had no choice in making bad mortgage loans to the unqualified: The Community Reinvestment Act forced their hand (thanks ACORN).

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654523)

If the CRA had forced bad loans onto the market then the market would have let the banks sit on them ... that didn't happen.

They sold mortgages because there was a bubble and they could sell of 100% of the risk for free money, selling mortgages was strictly profitable ... there was literally no risk to the banks no matter how bad the lender. Everyone kept buying MBS's regardless. You'd think the banks would have been smart enough not to buy their own BS and not own those MBS's themselves, you'd be wrong though ... no one forced them to do that, they knew the quality of the mortgages and yet they happily _chose_ to own them because the market could go nowhere but up.

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653857)

The banks probably do have technically knowledgeable people. At least several of them.

Unfortunately they will be ring-fenced on projects that are absolutely must-do, by savvy business managers who know they absolutely must do them. Even then technical guys will be outnumbered by layers of project managers, IT management and management stakeholders they report into - the problem you have as a vendor on a typical project is that you're speaking to one of them.

Re:Banks apparently have few with tech. knowledge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654061)

The other bank had either no one who was technically-knowledgeable or just a few people.

- Make your mind up. No one or just a few people?

They don't have just have problems with fraud, they have problems in every area where technical knowledge is needed. They cannot resolve modern problems because they have little or no knowledge of them, and they don't want to learn. Technically knowledgeable people are apparently seen as an annoying necessity.

- Make your mind up. They either don't have them, or they have them as a necessity.

With employees of a third large bank, at which I have personal and business accounts, I found that I could get a laugh by saying I saw their web site and thought that high school students should not write web sites for banks. Later the web site was improved.

- Awesome. You fixed it!

Suprise! NOT! (4, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653375)

Is this really a case of it being unexpected? Banks, which handle lots of money and are generally unwilling to pay for honest talented staff see mishandled cash? What a surprise!

Next article, "Investment Bankers are overpaid for the returns they generate on their transactions!"

Re:Suprise! NOT! (-1, Flamebait)

AnEducatedNegro (1372687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653431)

See the poster of the story? You are victim of a slashvertisement!

aEN

Outsourcing [Re:Suprise! NOT!] (1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653581)

Banks, which handle lots of money and are generally unwilling to pay for honest talented staff...

I imagine that outsourcing to 3rd-world countries increases the risk because the payoff is much higher relative to the local currency (more purchasing power) and it's much more difficult to prosecute across the ocean.

This is not saying that 3rd-world employees are "more evil", but rather the relative temptation is higher and the risks of formal prosecution is lower.
     

Re:Outsourcing [Re:Suprise! NOT!] (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654263)

I imagine that outsourcing to 3rd-world countries increases the risk because the payoff is much higher relative to the local currency (more purchasing power) and it's much more difficult to prosecute across the ocean.

Apparently you do imagine that quite strongly since the fine article and even the fine summary here on slashdot said:

The article dispels one assumption that might commonly be made about such insider fraud: "Interestingly, it's not the stereotypical offshore or outsourced employee who's most risky to their organizations..."

Re:Suprise! NOT! (1, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653589)

I think if the employees were paid a living wage, it wouldn't be an issue, but they aren't. Bank tellers don't have room for advancement, and start out at about $8/hr, which didn't go up in the last minimum wage increase. Tell me, what incentive is there to keep private things private when you're a burger flipper? Give them extra training to justify the pay increase.

Make them experts in spotting fakes, figuring out when people are up to something, etc, etc.

Oh, wait, they're already trained for this? I'm sorry, but your job is worth more than $8/hr if it takes more than an hour or two to be trained.

The Cold War had it right (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653377)

"Trust, but verify."

These people are in positions where they have to have access to the information to do their jobs. Locking them down so they can't get to the data without a partner would double labor costs (much more expensive than the 1-4% quoted in TFA.)

So the best answer is: give them the access they need, tell them you're logging it all, log it all, and *analyze the freakin' reports!* There are so many reports out there in most businesses that just get ignored. But we're talking about the early warning signs of theft, and they can't be ignored without consequences.

Re:The Cold War had it right (2, Interesting)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653691)

Analyzing reports is expensive. There's a lot of data there, you have to have multiple people do it(since otherwise the person analyzing the reports can steal from you) and unless you spend a lot of time and have a lot of people doing it you can only really see quite major exceptions from the general trends and most of the people who steal know how to do it without raising an major exception.

The truth of the matter is that low level fraud costs more to prevent than to accept, especially when you take into account the general moral drops you get from showing that you really don't trust your employees.

Most people are honest, most of the people who aren't honest can be scared off with the fact that audit reports exist, and the rest of them all together steal so very little that it's not really that big a deal.

Re:The Cold War had it right (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653977)

Yeah but you have to admit that the risk is tremendous. When I got my bank credit card, I asked the teller if he had my CC number. He said, yeah. I thought, wow.

This bank teller has everyone's credit card number. And what's worse, every bank teller has everyone's credit card number!

Granted, I guess there are certain social norms about privacy in the workplace. For example, I collect CC numbers all day at my job and nobody seems to think I'm amassing my own database. But there's something wicked about already having a database and hiring somebody new and a week later he/she has full access.

Re:The Cold War had it right (2, Interesting)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654231)

You realize that every machine you swipe your card through has a record of your card number, and a few button presses latter will print it out, along with every card from that day, or week, or month, etc etc... Do you trust the vetted bank employee with some oversight more than you trust the burger flipper and the chic at the coffee drive through? How about the guy working at best buy, he also asked for your address and zip code. Ever consider that one?

The bottom line is that the only reason that credit cards work is because MOST people don't know they can sell those lists of card numbers and names to a third party. If there were a fast, easy way to do so, and it became common knowledge, the credit industry would fall apart in a matter of months.

Re:The Cold War had it right (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654109)

Analyzing reports is expensive. There's a lot of data there, you have to have multiple people do it(since otherwise the person analyzing the reports can steal from you) and unless you spend a lot of time and have a lot of people doing it you can only really see quite major exceptions from the general trends and most of the people who steal know how to do it without raising an major exception.

The truth of the matter is that low level fraud costs more to prevent than to accept, especially when you take into account the general moral drops you get from showing that you really don't trust your employees.

Most people are honest, most of the people who aren't honest can be scared off with the fact that audit reports exist, and the rest of them all together steal so very little that it's not really that big a deal.

Expensive? Compared to a Depression?

whose going to watch you chief wiggums (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654167)

with all your logging, report analyzing, etc... who is going to watch ---your--- shifty ass? after all, you are the one who seems overly obsessed wit the human capacity for fraud.

So 28% of banks lie on surveys. (5, Insightful)

xC0000005 (715810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653397)

The odds of a bank (even a small bank) having no such problems is next to none. The only bank I can think of which has absolutely no employee corruption is the one in the mall. It's been closed for a few years, during which their track record is flawless. Their customer service times aren't actually much worse either.

Seriously, if there are humans in involved and money involved, corruption ain't far behind.

common knowledge (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653407)

The article dispels one assumption that might commonly be made about such insider fraud...

Am I the only one that is concerned that our financial institutions are assuming things relating to their security policies? Because it's common knowledge in our industry that most security threats come from inside, not outside, the organization.

Not surprised! (2, Interesting)

spammeister (586331) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653417)

That bank workers steal money like I steal stationary from work isn't some giant revelation.

Doesn't seem to be hurting profits though. At least in Canada we may not have that big of a problem.

Fraud by bank employees is nothing new (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653429)

I recall a bank hitting my brother's account with a long list of overdraft fees when he never bounced a single check. Turns out that one month he was trying a new budget strategy where he wrote all of the checks for that month's expenses and dated them for that day. At that time, he didn't have the money in his account to cover those checks. But he never sent them out until after he and his wife had deposited money to cover those checks. The checks were presented to the bank at a time when the money was actually in the bank. They paid all of those checks and then charged him $20 for each one that was dated as described. He never bounced a check. The checks were never presented to the bank when there weren't sufficient funds in the account. How did they justify that action? Who knows...

And even now, banks are playing games with other fees and charges. Who writes checks any more anyway? Your bank may already be doing this... How many transactions per month are you allowed to have before they start charging transaction fees?

Re:Fraud by bank employees is nothing new (5, Interesting)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653871)

I was trying to determine all the fees involved in Chase Bank's "FREE" checking a couple weeks ago. I asked what the minimum balance and specific performance were required to get that "FREE" checking? The yanker said no minimum and I did not have to do anything. Half way through the process the yanker mentioned if I did not use my debit cards some 10(?) times in a month there would be a $6 fee. I asked him if he knew what specific performance meant and do you lie and tell half-truths to your friends and family too? He laughed like it was a funny joke. I walked to the credit union, where I should have started.

Wells Fargo last year hit my checking account w/ 2 x $35 charges for $6 and $11 transactions, unknown to me my DD was 3 days late while on the road and I was not paying some monthly charge to auto-transfer or over-draft protection. I asked to set my account to deny ANY transactions when funds were not available so I would be aware of and remedy the situation. They told me the account didn't work like that but I could pay for those services and they would credit me one of the charges. I grabbed a withdrawl slip and wrote it to the balance of my savings, $9k and change. Shortly the manager offered to drop both charges. I told him no thanks, choke on your $70. ***Until the CU, I continued to use the checking, for cashing checks. If they need to hold overnight I pick the cash up in the a.m. and never carry more than a $5 balance.

F the banks, bunch of crooks and liars.

Re:Fraud by bank employees is nothing new (1)

Superpants (930409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653907)

This isn't as black and white as it might seem. Had the cheques that were deposited in your brother's account cleared through the other bank? Are there any limitations in the amounts he can deposit? There are restrictions in place in most banks to prevent fraud. I'm sure the vast majority of people are trustworthy enough to handle themselves without limitation. Except what happens when the cheque you deposit is fraudulent and the other bank refuses to put it through and you've already spent all that money? That's right, unlimited liability for unlimited transactional freedom...except that (at least in Canada) the bank is primarily responsible for negative account balances where credit isn't signed for. The bank has no recourse but to file legal charges and it really doesn't end well for anybody. As for the fees, banks are always looking to increase their profits. However, there are ways around paying any fees (visa for day to day transactions not using the teller etc.), you just have to be smart about it and devise a workable strategy within the banks line of products. If they can't offer you anything feasible, be a good consumer and refuse to bank there. You may even get fees waived for a year.

That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653467)

All these companys want you to be totally loyal to the company. The job comes before your life, friends, and everything else. They demand loyality above everything.

And yet... are most companys loyal to the employee? Fuck no! You're 100% replaceable. We don't really need YOU. Get back to work or you're fired. Sick? Come to work anyway! You did such a great job on that project. have some perks! more money? no. you wont get more money.. but look! pizza on fridays! wooo!

Nobody should be suprised that many employees have a crap attitude about their jobs. And will steal any chance they get.

You want real loyality from employees? PAY US MORE. We don't work here for our health or because we like it or for the perks or the lovely 'family oriented' way you do business. We work here because you pay us.

And now with the economy fuckup. The first things to go are perks and pay raises. Yet you still want the same loyality from the employees.

Good luck with that. We're gonna steal anything not bolted down. Get all we can before the company gets rid of us.

Re:That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653633)

OK, I'll play devil's advocate.

And yet... are most companys loyal to the employee? Fuck no! You're 100% replaceable. We don't really need YOU. Get back to work or you're fired.

You do realize that it costs somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of a year's salary to replace an employee (post job ad, maybe pay headhunter, spend time reading resumes and conducting interviews, and pay relocation expenses for an employee that won't be productive for several months while getting trained and learning how the company operates), right? So, even from the point of view of pure greed, it's not a good idea to fire someone unless (1) they are a total fuck-up, (2) the company just doesn't have money to pay them, or (3) their job just doesn't need to be done anymore and there is no appropriate position to move them into.

Sick? Come to work anyway!

If you are truly sick, especially with something contagious, nobody in their right mind wants you to come to work because that makes things worse with everyone else getting sick. Now, how many times have you called in sick when you weren't?

You did such a great job on that project. have some perks! more money? no.

I agree. Compensation in anything but cash should be illegal. No more healthcare, dental, life insurance, or other bullshit. Give people cash, making their total compensation completely transparent, and let them spend it as they wish. Lobby your congressperson.

Nobody should be suprised that many employees have a crap attitude about their jobs. And will steal any chance they get.

Nobody should be surprised that many employers have a crap attitude toward employees who steal and otherwise jerk off at work. It's that chicken and egg problem.

And now with the economy fuckup. The first things to go are perks and pay raises. Yet you still want the same loyality from the employees.

If the company isn't bringing in as much money as it used to, due to the economy, what do you expect them to pay for the perks and pay raises with? Do you think they can just waive a magic wand and make money fall from the sky? You do realize that if the company goes bankrupt you lose your job, not just your raise and your perks, right?

We're gonna steal anything not bolted down. Get all we can before the company gets rid of us.

Causing the company to lose money even faster, and forcing them to get rid of you even faster.

Re:That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654161)

You did such a great job on that project. have some perks! more money? no.

I agree. Compensation in anything but cash should be illegal. No more healthcare, dental, life insurance, or other bullshit. Give people cash, making their total compensation completely transparent, and let them spend it as they wish. Lobby your congressperson.

That's a good idea.

I'm a contractor mostly for the reason I want to choose how I spend my money, I don't want some HR bozo demanding a cut goes to their dental plan, their health insurance plan, or their pension that ends up being embezzled by the management anyway. I buy things I need for myself and don't buy things I don't need.

Re:That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654295)

You're right.

But most big companys don't act as if they had understood that.

You're replaceble. thats what middle managment tells you all the time. You wouldn't call them liars, would you?
Company doesn't make any money anymore... So how can they still afford to pay dividends?

Re:That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654425)

"So, even from the point of view of pure greed, it's not a good idea to fire someone unless (1) they are a total fuck-up, (2) the company just doesn't have money to pay them, or (3) their job just doesn't need to be done anymore and there is no appropriate position to move them into."

I completely disagree. The last place I worked at fired people the second they couldn't meet the 100+% key performance indicators.

Just keep in mind that the business mindset is "deal with customers as fast as possible" not "ensure customers are happy", maybe employees would be happier about not having to meet unreasonable metrics. "Do your job faster or you're fired" tends to put people in a perpetual state of fear of screwing up, and for some that means retaliation.

Re:That's the real cost of disloyal companys. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654311)

All these companys want you to be totally loyal to the company. The job comes before your life, friends, and everything else. They demand loyality above everything. And yet... are most companys loyal to the employee? Fuck no! You're 100% replaceable.

http://exiledonline.com/this-is-why-workers-shoot-their-employers/ [exiledonline.com]

I Could Be a Fraudster (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653489)

I'm a contract employee at one of the top ten banks in the nation, employed in website development. Within the first week I was given the keys to the kingdom in spite of the bank never even performing a rudimentary background check. Also in the first week, I discovered that it would be absolutely trivial for me to steal the credentials of every single user of the site and completely cover my tracks. It has now been MONTHS since I brought it to the attention of the people who I answer to and there is still not even a proposed solution to the problem. Scarier still is that any one of 75-80 people could do this and it does not even require collusion. This to me shows the "high regard" that banks have for your money.

Re:I Could Be a Fraudster (2, Interesting)

droopycom (470921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654129)

So what are you waiting for to blow the whistle ?

There should be plenty of journalists, or congressmen wanting to investigate this.

The other 28% must be small banks or... (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653501)

The other 28% must be small banks, or in denial. If just 1 percent of the population is criminal, you have to anticipate 1 criminal for every 100 people you hire. IANA statistician, but even if you have well under 100 employees, the odds are still pretty good. I think it would be like the birthday problem, where the odds of somebody in a relatively small class having the same birthday as you are surprisingly high.

Of course, I'm not sure what percent of the general population would commit bank fraud if they had the opportunity. That doesn't matter of course. People who are likely to commit bank fraud will, of course, seek out jobs at the bank. As the famous bank robber said, "that's where the money is".

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653557)

If just 1 percent of the population is criminal, you
have to anticipate 1 criminal for every 100 people you
hire.

If 1% of the population is criminal, and there are 100 employees, there is a 36.6% chance that none of them are criminal (so a 63.4% chance that at least one is).

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653681)

Well, I said IANA statistician. Can you show your work? It does make sense that some banks would be able to hire 100 employees under those circumstances and not bump into a criminal; but the exact equation isn't something with which I'm familiar.

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (5, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653733)

Well, I said IANA statistician. Can you show your work? It does make sense that some banks would be able to hire 100 employees under those circumstances and not bump into a criminal; but the exact equation isn't something with which I'm familiar.

If each employee has a 1% probability of being a criminal, the probability of each employee not being a criminal is 99%. If you pick two random employees, 99% of the time the first one will not be a criminal, and 99% of those times the second one won't be either: the probability is 99% * 99%, or 99% to the second power.

Thus, the probability of 100 employees not being criminals is 99% to the 100th power (0.99 ^ 100 = approximately 0.366 or 36.6%).

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653765)

/me smacks forehead. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Now that I think about it, the fact that odds were formulated "positively" like this, (ie, 0.99 of something as opposed to 0.01 of something) was just one of many things that made statistics difficult for me. It's like the sign problem, only different.

I was happy just to pass that class and get out alive.

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653761)

Probability that one specific employee is NOT a criminal: 0.99
Probability that none of N employees is a criminal: 0.99 ^ N (i.e. multiply 0.99 together N times).

Examples:
N=100: 36.6%
N=200: 13.4%
N=300: 4.9%
N=400: 1.8%
N=500: 0.7%

Re:The other 28% must be small banks or... (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653605)

If just 1 percent of the population is criminal, you have to anticipate 1 criminal for every 100 people you hire.

Not only is this a tautology, it's a statistically incorrect tautology. (It assumes that the hired population is similar to the general population, and also gets the math wrong!)

Stapler (5, Funny)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653509)

Has anyone seen my red stapler?

Why the Employee Fear / shame and/or Envy? (3, Interesting)

turtleshadow (180842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653521)

It seems the motive is typically to get a "loan" by a lower level employee which will be paid back at some point. It would seem that the employees are in fear to actually ask their own bosses to aid them in a situation of financial strife.

Isn't that what banks are about? Making loans?

It seems that inside the banks their is a pervasive culture of fear/shame/envy by staff of the owners. The fact that management seems to be unable to get inside this situation is indicated of a manager/employee relationship meltdown.

If I owned a bakery and my employees were stealing bread to feed their families cause I pay them nothing -- that in most peoples mind is a hint about how my relationship as owner to my employees is going.

If they are stealing bread but are not starving but in fact well off thats something else - envy and greed.

In any case a Bank which gets public assistance like in "too big to fail" or some other way should begin to be held publicly accountable for internal losses -- tangible assets and data privacy breaches. Till today no one is really reporting this number out of fear in losing the public trust. When the bank fails of course the horse it out the barn doors already.

One problem with your rant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653741)

This /. submission is about employees stealing data, not money.

Re:One problem with your rant. (1)

turtleshadow (180842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653855)

The links of the article which I read point to fiscal gain in some form.

The theft from banks indeed may involve customer data or physical equipment such as staplers -- but more likely are laptops which get "stolen from a mid level managers rental car. Even then data and equipment has to be fenced into cash or laundered somehow.

From what I read the really involved fraud starts with noticing the cash not being properly guarded/accounted for between two events: such as deposit by the customer and the actual putting the money into the system such as at the counting machine, etc

This then leads to an employee taking advantage when that employee notices opportunity for mucking with invoicing, money transfers, accounts, "ownerless" land titles & mortgages, abandoned safety deposit boxes and the like.

But the point I was trying to say is what % is stealing out of desperate need but ashamed to ask for help and what is criminal?

If it is a high percentage of criminal then that is a real societal problem. It can and has happened to be systemic and from the top as in the Madoff ponzi.

Re:One problem with your rant. (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654093)

This /. submission is about employees stealing data, not money.

Stealing the money is the management's job.

Personal Experience (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653549)

I've seen this happen to a co-worker. She was generally quite out-going and talkative. But she started being quieter over time. One day it was announced that she no longer worked at the company, and through the rumor mill I found out that she had embezzled about 5 grand (mid 90's dollars) with the help of her boyfriend. She discovered by accident that some vendors would double-pay an invoice if a second copy was sent by mistake. Thus, she decided to send fake invoices to vendors with a history of double-paying, but with her boyfriend's bank account as the bill-to address of the 2nd copy. Eventually somebody noticed the bogus addresses.

The problem is that they didn't file formal charges because they wanted to protect the reputation of the company. They did confiscate all her future benefits, though; so it was probably a net loss to her.

However, by not prosecuting they set themselves up for a second attack. For another employee of the same accounting department made off with about 25 grand a few years later. I'm sure the second guy factored in the non-prosecution of the first attempt.

I'm not sure how to solve it, other than perhaps making prosecution mandatory. But I doubt companies want that kind of legal complexity for gray areas or where the evidence is weak.

Maybe some kind of "secret victim list" in prosecution, but that goes against the concept of jury-by-peers. The chance of one out of 14 jurors (with 2 alternates) spilling the beans is fairly high. And there's other issues with public disclosure laws.
   

Re:Personal Experience (2, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653651)

$5.000 or $25.000 isn't that much - to you and me sure, it's alot of money, but compared to the bad press it's quite obvious why they decided to push it under the rug.

Re:Personal Experience (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653697)

My point is that by pushing it under the rug, they encourage further and bigger abuse down the road. Plus, there's probably crap that nobody ever noticed. Some of the best schemes are those that stay under the radar, like the Office Space (AKA SuperMan movie) penny-at-a-time plan.

Re:Personal Experience (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654069)

It's just one example of how banks don't want the regulations that would protect their interests. And in this case, it's the customers who lose. If a bank is vulnerable, damn straight the customers should know about it. That's why mandatory disclosure/prosecution/whatever is the only way.

The unspoken blacklisting of former employees (3, Interesting)

turtleshadow (180842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653785)

I once overheard Bankers speaking and they do blacklist persons if they hurt the institution enough.

Though no charges were filed often the reference is veiled: "let go due to irregularities in performing the job" which is a whopping hint to the next employer they were doing low level fraud or in the more sinister case it was a recommendation for a let go employee -- to a competitor.

Not surprising (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29653551)

I have applied to many banks to work as a teller; its a nice, cushy job that pays ok and is respectable. I have never been offered a job. I found out through some friends that banks will not hire anyone with bad credit; I kind of wondered why, as, if an employee tried to steal anything, they have a fuck-ton of cameras and security systems in place at any bank. I happen to have bad credit, so they assume that might try to screw them or something. It kind of sucks, but seeing this story, it makes a lot more sense.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654067)

I hate to break it to you, but they only hire female tellers, generally. You may be the wrong gender.

where do you live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654113)

at my bank being a teller is one of the nightmarish s*** jobs with people screaming at you all day for no reason. the pay sucks too.

Re:Not surprising (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654141)

they have a fuck-ton of cameras

Is that a metric fuck-ton? or is it what makes bedding second-hand?

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. (5, Insightful)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653597)

I guess it's only fraud when the bank is the one getting ripped off.

When they're handed hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to shore up bad debt and open up the faucet of commerce, but then instead decide to stop lending and hoard the cash... that's... something else? Right?

Re:Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654279)

When they're handed hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to shore up bad debt and open up the faucet of commerce, but then instead decide to stop lending and hoard the cash... that's... something else? Right?

Well it could be worse than fraud. Consider the following;

Before the crash the banks would take these risks either a) without knowing what the consequences would be or b) knowing the consequences might sink them. Better managed institutions with more efficient business models would then grow and buy-up the business or take over the market share. That is the essence of capitalism, and it's a healthy sign that these businesses went under because it proved that the system was weeding out the poor performers.

Now they can take the risks because they know they are "Too Big To Fail" (TBTF). This is the era of the TBTF institution where better managed is not as important as growing to be TBTF. This is a sure sign that Corporatism has killed Capitalism.

gush (2, Insightful)

topechelon (1650785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653629)

it's a jaded fact that corruption is quite common in every activities of humanbeings,not the least when the economy is in recession.the crucial problem is whether or not there have been an effective system to pull the plug on it.

Jeez, whole title should be: (3, Insightful)

Tanman (90298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653689)

72% of banks say employees have committed fraud. Other 28% are lying or naive.

Re:Jeez, whole title should be: (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654127)

Other 28% it is the management that is doing it.

There, thats fixed it for you!

I have NEVER seen... (5, Interesting)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653703)

an argument that started with the word interestingly:

"Interestingly, it's not the stereotypical offshore or outsourced employee who's most risky to their organizations.

that was not somebody attempting either a subterfuge or the implantation of a subliminal suggestion.

You see, it may very well be true that "offshore" employees in banking have less culpability, thus far...which - entirely coincidentally, I'm sure - corresponds directly to the amount of penetration into banking that offshoring has - thus far.

Interestingly, don't you think that such statistics provide a a nifty argument for offshoring banking?

Who gathered and "analyzed" this "data", again?

Re:I have NEVER seen... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653957)

That's one way to get modded "interesting." But I see what you're saying, and I agree with you line of thought.

well... (1)

Ben1220 (1503265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653967)

The other 28% just don't know about it.

Bankers I have talked to ... (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654029)

Some years ago I did some work at a bank in Luxembourg for a few days. One machine there was a ST400 - a SWIFT machine that could be used to ''wire'' money anywhere in the world. You send a message to this box (over a TCP/IP connection) and it would send money anywhere in the world. There was no protection on this, no login/... to control access. Everyone had a laptop (with working floppy) and could connect to the ST400. There were SWIFT books around the place describing the message format, many of those were familiar with the format.

In a bar one evening I pointed out ''how simple it would be to send a few million to a bank in Rio''. I was told ''Who wants to live in Rio?''. They were not interested in trying to fix it.

About that time I did some work at a bank in London. Every morning the director of securities arrived in the IT department with a list of errors from the overnight run (all audit trailed, etc). He got a programmer to fix them which he did by running up an SQL interpreter. There was no oversight, the director walked away before this was completed, there was nothing to stop the programmer from doing it whenever he wanted. The programmer was employed through an agency, not a bank employee.

I met someone at a social function, asked him what he did: ''I am a banker, I get to rob people legally'' -- at least he was honest!

I could go on. This sort of stuff is endemic.

Bank Armed Robbery vs. Electronic robbery (3, Interesting)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654033)

I had a friend years ago that was a detective on the Las Vegas Robbery squad. He told me that the average armed robber gets away with something like $5,000. The average electronic bank robbery gets away with over $500,000. He also told me that they almost never ever catch anyone committing a robbery by computer, but they get most of the people sooner or later that commit armed robbery. He was talking about both inside jobs (mostly involve some sort of computer) and outside computer attack type robberies here to clarify.

He said it was not so much tracking down a suspect, but that the nature of the electronic / insider robbery often lacked the traditional physical evidence that would really lead to a conviction. The banks and businesses don't really want to cooperate for PR / insurance / liability reasons. The nature of the evidence is not very compelling to a jury. Often it is difficult to properly get warrants across multiple jurisdictions in a timely manner and in such a way that the evidence can be used in court. Most importantly it just all around cost more money to investigate and prosecute, as it requires very expensive and specialized skills that most police departments (including the FBI) really do not have the resources to do properly. There is not a lot of political motive at the top of law enforcement and everyone else to do unless it is a really high profile robbery type thing that they have to do.

at my bank (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654083)

someone was stealing other people's food out of the refrigerator. they decided that the thief was 'just hungry' and we should all chill out.

but they wont give health insurance to the janitor.

the guy that runs the technical division has no degree and people are 'proud' of this, like Palin proud.

All fractional reserve banking is fraud (3, Informative)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654089)

This headline is missing the point that all banks commit theft, that's what keeps them in business and pays for their excessive bonuses.

Anyone that thinks otherwise doesn't understand fractional reserve banking.

Until we have money that is based on some real commodity money has no inherent value, it's just a points system ungrounded in reality.

be positive ! (2, Funny)

Atreide (16473) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654313)

"72% of Banks Say Their Employees Committed Fraud"

is much better than

"Banks Say 72% of Their Employees Committed Fraud"

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