Security of electronic payments

Internet banking is becoming more popular every year. In the past nine years the number of subscriptions for internet banking in Belgium has more than quadrupled to 8.1 million. In 2011, these 8.1 million subscribers logged around 460 million sessions on the internet. Internet banking is therefore one of the most user-friendly and safest ways to bank.

Belgian financial institutions are investing a great deal of time and resources to guarantee the security of their systems. They provide a secure site and a system with two-factor identification: customers must establish their identity by means of both their card and personal codes before being able to perform transactions. The system also automatically cancels sessions after several minutes without activity. In addition, the systems are continually updated and monitored by the banks.

However, the increase in the number of internet banking users has also led to an increase in the number of cases of fraud. In the first quarter of 2013, there were 473 cases of fraud recorded. In a total of 460 million recorded sessions, that equates to around 4 cases per 1 million sessions.  In the first quarter of 2013, net fraud in Belgium (the sums that could not be recovered by the bank) amounted to EUR 1.3 million. 

The sector is investing heavily in even more protection for internet banking, including by raising awareness among customers and encouraging them to be particularly vigilant when banking online.

Dave campaign

To encourage people to be vigilant when banking online, and impress upon them the need for caution when passing on personal information, Febelfin has set up a fun awareness-raising campaign through its website

The campaign consists of a clip all about Dave, an alleged medium with “paranormal” gifts. Random passers-by are invited by Dave’s colleagues for a free mindreading session. Great is their surprise when Dave can tell his listeners the precise names of their children, how much their house cost, how much money is in their bank account, how much they spent on clothes last month, what their account number is, etc.

However, the medium does not attribute all this knowledge to his talent for reading minds. Behind Dave are hidden several computer wizards who whisper to him through an earpiece all the information these people have left behind on public websites, both knowingly and unknowingly. The clip’s message is clear.

As part of the Dave campaign, the website was revamped and new tips & tricks added for consumers who want to arm themselves against fraudsters trying to con them out of their money in the framework of internet banking. Prompted by the Dave campaign, a great many people found their way to these tips & tricks.

At the same time as the Dave campaign, Febelfin also increased media contacts in connection with internet banking, to make users further aware of the need to remain alert. After all, safe internet banking is not only a matter for the bank, and users must also remain vigilant to be able to thwart fraudsters.

In phishing frauds, the fraudsters claim to be, for example, employees of a bank so as to extract PINs from customers (often by telephone) or have them pass on personal codes generated by the card reader. It is these codes that are then illegally used to transfer money to the accounts of the fraudsters or their accomplices.

The Dave campaign was an international success. The clip was viewed more than 9 million times on YouTube and developed into one of the most widespread viral campaigns of all time. It also won several international prizes, received international media attention, and is used as teaching material for combating fraud in police forces from Australia to the United States. The Dave campaign also has a successor, which refers even more clearly to the phishing phenomenon.