Monday, January 07, 2008

Cheque you're working

That lovable Mr Jeremy Clarkson was recently fined £500 for being a cocky twunt*.

Mr Clarkson should be right when he contends that knowledge of someone's bank account number should only enable deposits to be made. How can anyone possibly suck money out of a bank account solely with the sort code and account number? The fact that someone did means that in theory anyone who ever received a cheque from you can use the information on the bottom of the cheque to set up a direct debit from your bank account to Diabetes UK, or even some other deserving charity such as The Grumpy Goat's Get-Rich-Quick Scam Scheme. A cheque is better yet: it even carries a sample of your signature.

Rather than having an attack of Schadenfreude at Mr Clarkson's expense, we should be asking why Barclays allowed it to happen, and what the banking industry is doing to prevent such a thing from recurring. Or possibly Clarkson is party to a publicity stunt to publicise why one should be careful with banking details. Or am I now being too cynical?* twunt. Portmanteau noun. Quoting an anonymous contributor to a UK-based magazine devoted to off-road vehicles. He used the term to describe Mr Clarkson.

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