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Insider fraud hitting banks hard

Interesting piece in the Financial Times this morning about UK banks being hit by an increasing number of insider frauds.

The problem, says the FT, is that criminals are seeking to exploit the bank's increasing profit levels and the fact that turnover in their call centres is quite high.

According to the FT, there has been widespread criticism that fraud prevention is under-resourced, whilst intelligence gathering is poor and jail sentences too short.

I find this even more interesting, as I got a call over the weekend from HSBC, with whom we have our personal and business accounts, about me being late with a payment on the credit card.

My statement last month went astray in the post - yes, honestly - so I forgot to make a payment on my cheap balance transfer deal (FX: doh!).

The dosh was due last Thursday, and HSBC's call centre in India swung into action big-time, calling me - it says on my office call logs - every couple of hours during Friday.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I realised something might be up and paid the dosh over this weekend after going through all of our accounts.

This didn't stop the enthusiastic Indian call centre staff from calling me on my mobile yesterday, and I told 'em I'd paid.

What concerned me was that, within a few seconds, the credit card call centre operative had checked my savings account and verified the fact I'd paid.

I always thought that HSBC's card centres were quite separate from the bank's retail banking operation, but it appears not.

This annoys me, as there is no serious data protection legislation in India and I find the prospect of an Indian call centre operator on the bank's credit card side able to access my personal bank accounts quite worrying.

Of course, there's naff all you can do about this, as pretty well all the banks are outsourcing their operations to India in a bid to keep costs down.

I think I shall be spreading my accounts a little wider than previously this coming financial year...