Banks face uphill battle dealing with growing problems of ID theft, cybersecurity

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Due to the increasing threat of identity theft and cybercrimes, the government is urging banks to do even more to protect your money, but it’s proving to be an uphill battle.

“Fraud clearly is a problem that is not going to go away,” said Ed Pei, executive director of the Hawaii Bankers Association. “In fact, if anything, it’ll just get worse.”

That’s precisely why banks and financial institutions around the world, including here in Hawaii, are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the criminals.

A recent two-day conference brought together leaders from Hawaii’s banking community and federal regulators, with the goal of examining the latest trends within the industry, and coming up with solutions to the growing problems of identity theft, cybersecurity threats, as well as the challenges that come with mobile and online banking.

“Credit card fraud, financial exploitation of elderly, those are all things we continue to work diligently to help our customers protect them from losing their life savings and, in some cases, they have lost their life savings,” Pei said.

He says one of the newest forms of fraud protection that has proven successful is the use of chips in credit cards, which are designed to prevent criminals from counterfeiting cards.

But Pei adds that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “Everything from biometrics to eyeprint, fingerprint, a picture of your face, to other technology tools that will help identify a counterfeit card.”

First Hawaiian Bank Vice President Neal Okabayashi says financial institutions are dedicating large amounts of resources into cybersecurity and fraud more so than ever before. “It is really an ongoing thing because the hackers and cybersecurity threats come in different forms and ways and each day, they find a new way to get into your system, and we have to protect our consumers.”

If you have a consumer concern, or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to

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