19 November 2015, Sydney, Australia — During International Fraud Awareness week, experts are issuing an urgent warning that mobile apps using ‘screen scraping’ technology to access financial information represent a serious fraud risk for consumers.
“While these screen scraping apps are designed to streamline credit applications for consumers by providing a holistic view of an individual’s financial information, the reality is they put private information risk,” says Albert van Wyk, Head of Fraud & Identity at Experian. “Consumers should never share account access information with third parties.”
Identity theft continues to be one of the most common crimes in Australia, according to the latest Attorney General’s report on Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia. Furthermore, during 2013 and 2014 there were more than 1.5 million fraudulent card transactions, accounting for losses totalling approximately A$304 million (APCA 2014).
van Wyk warns there are two issues inherent in these new apps’ approach of screen scraping transactional data via a consumer’s bank login. “Firstly the service itself may be secure, but under the terms of online banking, sharing login credentials with a third party exposes the consumer to risk of liability for any fraudulent activity in their accounts.”
“Secondly, and more serious, is that we know that there are vulnerabilities within the mobility ecosystems. A Symantec survey showed that 70% of the apps available on Android lack fundamental security safeguards and present a very real danger of malware attachments that could send data to unsubscribed users.”
Last week three major U.S banks announced their strong opposition to these apps and clearly stated that individuals are at risk of being held liable for making their login information public. The fast-rising incidence of identity fraud has led to the establishment of ID Care, a national public/private agency providing people with free total response plans to mitigate the risk of ID theft.
“We have specific response plans tailored to individual clients,” says ID Care Managing Director David Lacey. “Sometimes we can actually recover the stolen money or data. In most cases though, we are focusing on preventing the compromise from happening again. There’s a healthy criminal market for stolen credential information and you don’t get your identity back once it’s been compromised.”
According to van Wyk, while the message for consumers seems dire, the onus should not be on the consumer to navigate all the complex fraud scenarios that could emerge. “There are viable alternatives to using these apps. Banks and other financial institutions in parts of the world are already collaborating to develop secure inter-bank back-end systems that store key customer information in an encrypted machine-readable format between lenders in real-time. Lenders in South Africa and the UK are already
working with Experian to provide inter-bank transfers of information using enterprise-grade security,” says van Wyk.
Experian is also currently in talks with major Australian banks to implement a similar system based on collaborative technologies.
“This is a much better approach,” says Albert van Wyk. “It allows banks to have instant access to all the data they need to process loans without having to rely on these third-party screen scraping apps but more importantly it removes the onus from the consumer and provides greater safety for all parties.”
Fraud awareness week runs until November 21.
Key Experian Contacts:
Solutions Marketing Manager
Experian Australia & New Zealand
+61 407 624 216
We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.
We employ approximately 17,000 people in 39 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2015, was US$4.8 billion.