A UK bank has been left with its tail between its legs after its “state-of-the-art and highly secure” voice biometric system was bypassed by a cat.
“Game changer” Jargon Bank, which launched last year (and updated its app and moved office), is reeling from the feline fraudster and the media wants answers. And boy does it get them – unfortunately, they’re all gobbledygook.
In an exclusive interview with Banking Technology, the cat’s owner, Timothy Svelten, explains what happened: “I inadvertently left my phone on the kitchen table. This is unusual as I am in my twenties and normally I can’t be separated from my mobile for more than ten seconds. A few months ago, I lost my phone and had a panic attack; and started shouting ‘Oh my God!’ repeatedly as though this would help.
“Anyway, my cat, called Tabitha Tinytoes, must have jumped on the table and somehow pressed redial. My last phone call was to check my bank balance. But I don’t understand how the cat could have mimicked my voice. I’m not sure and I don’t know how to check more as I am the product of an education system that has turned me into an unthinking drama queen. I need to ring my parents I think.”
Banking Technology’s investigation revealed that the cat was not only able to access Svelten’s account, but managed to use some of his funds to purchase 200 tins of cat food and buy a yearly subscription to Moggy Monthly. The cat declined to comment.
In response to this clear security breach, Tarquin Ponsonby, head of marketing at Jargon Bank, who has somehow survived six assassination attempts by journalists, says: “The safety and security and safety of our customers’ accounts is of the utmost importance to us. Our Jargon Voice ID system is a very secure method of authenticating customers.
“Some cats and annoyingly high-pitched humans do have a similar voiceprint, but the introduction of this technology has seen a significant reduction in fraud, and has proven to be more secure than PINs, passwords and memorable phrases.”
Make that soon-to-be seven assassination attempts.
With such a scenario on our hands, it was not long before Banking Technology was deluged by emails from security experts – all offering their views – and all of them the same.
Rupert Frissionair, “evangelical security guru”, states: “I’m shocked. This should not be allowed to happen. Another person or animal, even if it’s a pet, should not be able to access your bank account.”
Truly we are blessed to have such expertise on hand. Most of the experts also tried subtly (in their minds, not ours) to promote their companies in their quotes. In reality, they were about as understated as a dinner party with Liberace and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Banking Technology can also reveal, via further investigation, that two months ago a llama was able to transfer a small amount of funds from a Jargon Bank account. In addition, 12 days ago, a mouse not only got through to a Jargon account, but was put through to Ponsonby via the switchboard. But after 30 seconds of Ponsonby’s weasel-like words the mouse promptly hung up.