Nine out of ten financial services businesses have yet to tackle the risk of electronic fraud, according to a new survey of the UK's readiness for e-business. The survey of 876 financial institutions found half of the respondents had a fraud policy, and of those only a quarter took threats to electronic payment systems into consideration . 'This indicates that approximately 88% of UK financial institutions have not considered these risks at all,' said computer company Unisys, which sponsored the survey. The damning findings followed the call by e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt for UK business to come up with innovative ideas to tackle 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% of respondents declined to say when their policies had last been 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 did not carry out 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 £15m research project, Management of Information, which is funded jointly by government and private companies. The scheme supports systems to detect fraud, especially in electronic retailing.
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