Currently they're not doing enough, survey showsManaged services company Unisys has attacked banks and building societies for failing to tackle consumer apathy towards identity theft and fraud.
Following a survey of 1,000 UK consumers' attitudes towards fraud, the company said financial firms should do more to educate the public.
Nigel Moden, retail banking partner at Unisys, said in a statement: "Many financial institutions' fraud systems are unprepared to address sophisticated forms of identity theft. What started out decades ago as leading technology at banks is now a convoluted patchwork of systems. Any company that collects data needs to get much better at integrating knowledge and information across all channels - branch, online, telephone, etc. - to create a fraud monitoring 'ecosystem' that addresses the problem.
He added: "The real challenge is for the banks to combat fraud before it happens through improved fraud detection technology. At the same time, there needs to be a renewed commitment to consumer security education."
The survey found 61 per cent of respondents had no concern about the safety of banks, while 11 per cent said they had been a victim of identity theft or fraud.
The Association of Payment and Clearing Systems (Apacs) has estimated that card fraud stemming from online phishing attacks cost banks £12m last year. Despite this figure, 58 per cent of respondents to the Unisys survey said they had no desire to be educated about fraud, and 73 per cent had never been contacted by a bank to discuss potential identity theft. Only nine per cent had heard about phishing from their bank.
One victim of online fraud through keystroke logging, Kim Pierson Smith, said: "I'm with HSBC - I had £2,800 withdrawn. The bank paid it back after about a month but they weren't very helpful - I needed a police reference number before they would do anything. I wouldn't use internet banking now."
Apacs, which represents the banking industry, has hit back at some of Unisys' claims but admitted consumer education was necessary to tackle fraud. In a press statement Apacs said: "The banking industry takes all types of plastic card fraud very seriously indeed and remains committed to tackling card fraud losses in this country through a number of initiatives already in place and others that are being developed.
"There is more than one type of card fraud in the UK and therefore we are tackling card fraud on a number of levels. One of these means is to better educate cardholders as they are often their own front-line of defence in stopping card fraud taking place."
The survey also found that around two-thirds of UK adults were unwilling to pay for enhanced security to prevent fraud. Half said they would not switch banks or building societies if offered better security protection.