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Author Topic: What's the point in signing?  (Read 3884 times)

Offline Geezer

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What's the point in signing?
« on: 28/12/2011 20:10:03 »
I've often wondered why credit card companies bother to get me to sign a chit when I buy something (recently, they stopped doing this for small purchases.)
 
What's the point? If you've seen my signature you would agree it is unlikely to prove that I actually made the purchase, and the sales person never bothers to compare my signature with the one on my card.
 
In fact, when we had a "working lunch" and used our company cc's to pay the bill, it was not uncommon for one of us to sign the chit for someone else in the name of a certain D. Duck or M. K. Mouse. No questions were ever asked.


 

Offline neilep

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #1 on: 29/12/2011 00:31:28 »
Gosh !...ewe guys don't have chip 'n' pin yet !!  ;)
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #2 on: 29/12/2011 00:32:01 »
ooops...forgot the silly smiliey  brackets !!  ;)
 

Offline RD

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #3 on: 29/12/2011 01:14:11 »
Taking your fingerprint would be more secure ...

Quote
A retail park in Birmingham is testing a system whereby customers are asked to place a fingerprint on the back of their cheque or credit card slip. Around 80 per cent of fraudsters already have criminal records, making it relatively simple for police to identify a suspect - and providing a major deterrent.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-64501/British-tourists-hit-150m-credit-card-scam.html
« Last Edit: 29/12/2011 01:17:20 by RD »
 

Offline chris

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #4 on: 29/12/2011 03:28:06 »
Taking your fingerprint would be more secure ...

Quote
A retail park in Birmingham is testing a system whereby customers are asked to place a fingerprint on the back of their cheque or credit card slip. Around 80 per cent of fraudsters already have criminal records, making it relatively simple for police to identify a suspect - and providing a major deterrent.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-64501/British-tourists-hit-150m-credit-card-scam.html

Is that a genetic fingerprint...!?
 

Offline RD

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #5 on: 29/12/2011 07:19:36 »
Is that a genetic fingerprint...!?

It was ye olde inky type, (not the digital biometric).
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #6 on: 29/12/2011 07:56:17 »
Is that a genetic fingerprint...!?

It was ye olde inky type, (not the digital biometric).

Therefore, it would be more generic than genetic ;D
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #7 on: 29/12/2011 11:54:49 »
I can never quite seem to sign my name twice the same.

However, if you took a poor quality check forging, I could tell you very quickly whether or not I in fact was the one that signed the check.

I'm not sure if store clerks get any training in handwriting analysis, but if you disputed a number of charges, a bank could send the signatures out to a handwriting analyst to verify.

Of course Debit cards in the USA use  PIN number verification (with the old magnetic strips).  One of the problems with PIN numbers is "shoulder surfing", which happened to me once with an ex-friend.  I now use a 6 digit PIN with enough complexity that I doubt she would be able to memorize it.

I'm not sure I'd want to regularly ink my fingers for signing checks, but we do have the technology for electronic fingerprint verification.  Obviously any security technology would have to be widely distributed, otherwise criminals would quickly learn the locations that don't do the added checks.
 

Offline RD

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #8 on: 29/12/2011 12:28:30 »
... we do have the technology for electronic fingerprint verification.

I recently saw USB memory sticks with a builtin fingerprint reader ...



but apparently they are a bit unreliable: requiring many finger swipes before your print is recognised.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #9 on: 29/12/2011 18:28:26 »
Of course, you could always do chip implants, perhaps in the wrist, tied to fingerprint verification, and one could virtually eliminate point-of-sale fraud.

And, you'd never loose your credit card, never get it stolen, and never be without your ID.
 

Offline RD

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #10 on: 29/12/2011 21:58:18 »
It just occurred to me that fingerprint scanning wouldn’t be a secure method for payment for Geezer’s liquid lunch as a semi-conscious / unconscious person’s finger could be scanned without them knowing.  :)
« Last Edit: 29/12/2011 22:00:46 by RD »
 

Offline graham.d

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #11 on: 02/01/2012 10:05:51 »
Many years ago a friend of mine bought a pair of shoes at a department store. When he went to pay by cheque the sales assistant asked him for some identification. As it happened he had just also had some photos taken for a passport application, so he showed her one of the photos and said "this is me". She looked at the photo and said that was OK and accepted the cheque!

There are always going to be dishonest people about and some of them will be clever enough (or ruthless enough) to defeat the systems of protection. Banks accept certain losses, and generally always have done, for fraudulent use of the systems whether manual signature verification or electronic protection. The problem nowadays is that the amounts of money that can be stolen can be large enough to warrant significant effort by fraudsters. If worth enough money, then fingerprint detection or a retina scans could lead to more direct personal threats. I note that some systems have "dead finger" detection; OK as long as the villain knows about it and that it works though I bet there is a workaround. The biggest weakness is probably password protection systems on computers, bankcards etc.; how many people now find that they have so many passwords, answers to security questions and obscure n-digit numbers to remember that they knowingly weaken their protection?
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #12 on: 02/01/2012 20:13:53 »
Graham's post reminded me of a related problem I had.

I kept a bank account in the UK when we moved to the US. It was pretty much dormant for about twenty-five years. When I tried to resuscitate the account the bank said I could not be the original owner because my signature looked nothing like the one they had on file!

It was quite a palaver getting it sorted.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #13 on: 02/01/2012 20:44:58 »
Geezer...
Were you part of a Nigerian Scam...
Claiming to the the heir to a forgotten Fortune?
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #14 on: 02/01/2012 20:51:04 »
Geezer...
Were you part of a Nigerian Scam...
Claiming to the the heir to a forgotten Fortune?

Well, it was with a certain Scottish bank that managed to do a much better job than a lot of Nigerian Scams.
 

Offline RD

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #15 on: 02/01/2012 23:56:46 »
I kept a bank account in the UK when we moved to the US. It was pretty much dormant for about twenty-five years.

I hope you don't have any other dormant accounts in the UK: if inactive for +15 years Mr Cameron is 'avin it ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jul/19/dormant-accounts-fund-big-society-bank

[that's the bottom of the financial barrel being scraped  [V] ]
« Last Edit: 03/01/2012 00:00:36 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #16 on: 03/01/2012 01:01:19 »
It appears as if the British are taking the "Dormant Money".
But, will give it back if requested.

Quote
"This point is absolutely crucial," said Brian White of the British Bankers' Association. "Customers' money remains customers' money. The plan is that a small pot will be set aside to ensure people can be reunited with their cash even after 15 years. But it is our responsibility to ensure as many people as possible are reunited with their cash before the big society scheme begins."
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #17 on: 03/01/2012 18:23:31 »
Chip n Pin drops the responsibility for fraudulent withdrawals on to the card owner, whilst a signature makes the problem the merchant's problem. The bank only loses if the card has been reported lost or stolen, and they allow transactions to go through. None of there affect the bank, even though there are problems with CnP and card cloning. The banks in the UK even gave muggers the perfect free tool to check the pin is correct. There have been many shop terminals found that have "added features" that steal card details silently.

Remember that modern banking systems are very often a fancy cover over what is in reality a 50 year old IBM mainframe backend, that is itself being emulated on newer hardware, but with very few still alive who actually know how it works at the back, though they can present data to it and parse the output onto fancy screens.
 

Offline graham.d

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #18 on: 03/01/2012 22:47:41 »
Sean, it is interesting what you say about the banks not accepting responsibility. I hate to be in a position of defending a wunch of bankers, but I have come across quite a few incidences where money has been fraudulently obtained from someone's account via card transactions and, in every case, the money has been restored in full. In one case it was the bank who spotted the likely fraud and in the other cases it was noticed by the individuals via their statements. The amounts taken were not huge (a few hundred quid). They are also not strict about stolen cards and will restore money here too. The clauses in the contract are to encourage people to take care and to ensure they report them missing as soon as possible.

I agree that systems could be improved but it is a fluid situation analogous to an arms race. It is not really as bad as you describe. In reality bad security costs the banks a lot of money so you can bet that they spend a fair bit on hardware and software, as well as on some clever people, to find ways to avoid these losses.

I better check my accounts now :-)
 

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Re: What's the point in signing?
« Reply #18 on: 03/01/2012 22:47:41 »

 

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