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Britain's Banking Fraudsters

An increasing number of customers are worried about internet security according to a report by the BBC (opens in new tab).

The murky world of internet fraud has cast a shadow over online banking, which promised a revolution in the way we manage our money, but has since fallen victim to security scares and identity scams.

Meanwhile, fraudsters are using an increasingly advanced array of devices to tamper with bank cash machines, allowing them to copy - or skim - card details from unwitting customers.

Cash machine fraud totalled £65.8m last year, according to industry body Apacs.

In the face of a rising tide of consumer security concerns, two of Britain's leading High Street banks have announced separate plans to target internet and ATM fraud.

Alliance & Leicester is launching what it describes as a "revolutionary new system" designed to tighten security for its internet customers.

Using technology successfully applied in the United States, Alliance & Leicester is introducing new double identity check measures which will come into force when customers access their accounts.

According to market researchers YouGov, 54% of bank customers are more worried about the risk of fraudsters accessing their online bank details than they were just two years ago.

Alliance & Leicester has seen a 92% jump in internet banking transactions over the last year, and now has more than one million internet customers.

On the High Street, Lloyds TSB is announcing plans to improve security for customers using its cash machines.

More than three-quarters of people are worried about withdrawing money from cash machines in case criminals copy their card details, according a study carried out for the bank by researchers TNS.

Financial security expert David Porter, of specialist IT consultancy Detica, believes both banks' initiatives are a step in the right direction, but only if customers "share the responsibility" of keeping their account details safe.

"These measures will win the battle, but they won't win the war," he says.

"They will get people to take security seriously, but only to a certain extent. We have to be realistic, the man on the Clapham omnibus isn't a security professional."