The survey, of 876 financial institutions, found that only half of respondents had any fraud policy at all, and of those, only a quarter took into consideration threats to electronic payment systems. 'This indicates that approximately 88% of UK financial institutions have not considered these risks at all,' the computer company Unisys, which sponsored the survey, said. The damning findings followed the call by e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt for UK business to come up with innovative ideas to tackle e-commerce fraud. Despite the apparent lack of action, the survey suggested awareness of e-fraud was high. One respondent in five said their institution had already been targeted by fraudsters taking advantage of electronic payment systems, while almost one in three believed they were vulnerable to such an attack. Of those companies with a fraud policy, 61 said that they had updated it in the past year. 'What this means is that only one third of the UK financial services industry has an up-to-date fraud policy at all,' said Rowan Bosworth-Davies, anti-fraud chief of Unisys. ' Of even greater interest is that 17 per cent of respondents declined to say when their policies had been last updated, indicating either that they did not know, or worse still, that they were not aware of the existence of a fraud policy.'A quarter of respondents said they carried out no 'know your customer' procedures, despite their obligation to do so under money-laundering regulations. Over a third of respondents did not monitor account activity for suspicious transactions.Hewitt launched the second phase of a £15 million research project, Management of Information funded jointly by government and private companies. The scheme supports new technologies and systems to detect and prevent fraud, especially in electronic retailing. Government agencies are contributing £7.8 million to the three-year scheme.
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