Fraud and security issues are always a concern to bank customers, and any instances of data breaches or major fraudulent attacks are always a PR nightmare for financial institutions.
In these cases banks must do their best to not only correct the error, but perform damage control to their customers and the media. Such is the case in an incident reported on this week where Citi allegedly sent a replacement debit card for the account of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to a fraudster.
According to several press reports, an AWOL U.S. soldier, Brandon Lee Price, called Citi and changed the address on a bank account held by Allen, then had a debit card sent to his home so he could use it for payments on a delinquent Armed Forces Bank account and personal expenses.
According to an FBI criminal complaint, Price made a $658.81 payment on a bank loan and attempted to make a $15,000 Western Union transaction. He was captured in early March and is being detained until the Army takes him into custody.
Citi spokeswoman Catherine Pulley told the Associated Press that the bank "identified the actions of a fraudulent account takeover and turned the matter over to law enforcement" and "will continue to work with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation".
Any time a bank falls victim to an identity thief it is never a good thing, but the fact that Citi apparently compromised the personal information of one of the richest men in the world certainly makes this instance more newsworthy, and a bit embarrassing. Hopefully, this incident will cause all banks to engage in a thorough review of their security protocols and better train call center personnel in the future.