The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE - Richard Dyson

‘Open bank­ing’ be­gins to­day. It poses one ma­jor threat to your money

To­day marks a bank­ing mile­stone that some have claimed is the most im­por­tant in decades: “open bank­ing”. If you’ve some­how not heard of it yet, you soon will.

Your bank will ask you – if it hasn’t al­ready – whether you want to par­tic­i­pate. If you say yes, your ac­count in­for­ma­tion is po­ten­tially share­able with other banks and busi­nesses. The pos­si­ble ben­e­fits for you are, first, con­ve­nience (you’ll be able to see sev­eral ac­counts just by log­ging in to your bank, for ex­am­ple) and, sec­ond, po­ten­tially bet­ter deals (other com­pa­nies could point you to best buys for your level of sav­ings).

It may turn out to be very good news, es­pe­cially for those en­gaged cus­tomers who en­joy try­ing out new ser­vices, who take an ac­tive in­ter­est in their fi­nances and who think it’s per­fectly fine to ap­ply for a mort­gage via an app on their smart­phone.

But whether you’re some­one who will em­brace the changes or shun them (and do not worry, if you do noth­ing your in­for­ma­tion will not be shared any more than it is al­ready), they are go­ing to bring at least one sig­nif­i­cant, im­me­di­ate threat.

That is an in­crease in looka­like web­sites or “clones” op­er­ated by fraud­sters with the in­ten­tion to trick you into think­ing you are deal­ing with the real thing. The aim will be to get you to hand over valu­able in­for­ma­tion or cash.

Even the big banks them­selves – which are pre­sent­ing open bank­ing in a uni­formly pos­i­tive light – are ad­mit­ting that this is a prob­lem.

NatWest’s head of cur­rent ac­counts, David Craw­ford, told me that “we think crim­i­nals will try to take ad­van­tage of the noise and pub­lic­ity” around the topic to “in­crease their ac­tiv­ity”.

He said the phoney web­sites would “look like the real thing, and may even have a web ad­dress that is very sim­i­lar to a well-known site such as the one op­er­ated by your bank”.

“With all the new com­pa­nies ex­pected to launch propo­si­tions, cus­tomers might not be aware of which are gen­uine and which are run by crim­i­nals, and so be at risk of giv­ing away de­tails or even money,” he added.

So ex­pect your in­boxes to be del­uged with even more un­so­licited emails than usual. And be sus­pi­cious of any­thing that refers to “your re­cent de­ci­sion to share in­for­ma­tion” or “wel­come” mes­sages to at­trac­tivesound­ing ser­vices that you are not 100pc sure you signed up to.

Last year saw an as­ton­ish­ing gear­ing up in the so­phis­ti­ca­tion of these fake firms and their ap­proaches to po­ten­tial vic­tims.

Keep them out: even the banks ad­mit that ‘open bank­ing’ might give rise to in­creased fraud

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