Questions Financial Institutions Will Not Ask – Preventing Fraud
January 10, 2024

By Dan Cook, Board Member

The unfortunate reality of today’s world is an ever-increasing propensity for fraud attempts. As technology continues to become a predominant piece of our daily lives, the likelihood and sophistication of fraud efforts grow. Less and less are we met with poorly organized phony telemarketer calls. Rather, fraudsters are targeting victims through spoofed phone numbers, well-]disguised emails, and IT staff impersonations. The best defense against these and other fraud attempts remains proactive education and understanding what red flags to recognize, some of these being the questions that financial institutions will not ask.

Information Financial Institutions Already Know

Often when fraudsters are communicating with a victim they attempt to gather as much information as possible by presenting themselves as someone verifying information. This is often referred to as Phishing. During this time, they may ask a variety of questions to make the victim feel as though they are just going through a standard verification process. In actuality, some of the questions they ask can be red flags. Below are a few examples of questions that the majority of financial institutions avoid asking during a verification process as this information is on file and doesn’t aid in the verification of an individual.

  • What is your debit/credit card number?
  • What is your full Social Security Number?
  • What is your account number?

Often, these fraud calls are incoming calls to the victim. It doesn’t make sense for a financial institution to call you and ask for your account information – red flag! Fraudsters even have the ability to spoof phone numbers so that it appears they are calling from a reputable source. This is why being able to recognize suspicious questions is more important than ever.

Information Financial Institutions Never Need

Technology enables new forms of fraud. Some examples of fraud strategies that are increasing in frequency include computer takeover and other remote access attempts. Often, these fraud attempts stem from emails, computer pop-ups, and text messages. Technology such as Online Banking and Mobile Applications are encouraged by every financial institution.  However, there are pieces of information related to these tools that your financial institution will never need. These items should be considered red flags if you were to be asked!

  • Ask for your login information
  • Ask you to download any software or mobile application
  • Ask you to click on any links or go to any websites
  • Ask you to share your screen or device

The use of technology in banking enables quick and convenient access to accounts and services provided by your financial institution. This same ease of use can create opportunities for fraudsters to take advantage of their victims remotely. As digital offerings continue to expand, it becomes more important for users to learn to differentiate between what is a reasonable verification request and what should be a red flag.