Personal Finance: Consumers Shun E-Banks on Account of Online Fraud
Byline: John Cranage Personal Finance Editor
The world's richest man, Microsoft computer software tycoon Bill Gates, isn't immune to it.
Nor are billionaire financier George Soros and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Events at January's World Economic Forum in Switzerland proved that the rich and famous are just as vulnerable to cyber crime as the rest of us.
Gates, Soros and Arafat were among a host of famous people who discovered that their credit card details had been swiped by hackers.
The motive was political, and not financial. But online fraud is becoming an ever bigger headache for financial institutions and consumers.
It is estimated that high-tech thieves pocketed pounds 190 million in the UK alone in 1999, and some estimates put global losses at around pounds 1.3 billion.
Mastercard says that fraudulent online purchases now account for half of disputed transactions.
The recent spate of security breaches of websites run by organisations such Bank of Scotland, Abbey National, Egg and Powergen, together with a survey by Internet accreditation company Click showing that nearly one third of the high street banks' electronic operations are vulnerable, adds up to widespread mistrust of e-banking.
So it's not surprising that when Corillian, a global supplier of e-finance software, tested the water it found that while 35 per cent of Britons have Internet access, 50 per cent said that e-banking was not safe.
Distrust was highest among women (51 per cent) and in the north of England (53 per cent).
More than a third (35 per cent) of those questioned by poll specialist NOP said they preferred face-to-face advice and transactions, although that number is declining compared with previous surveys. …