Fraud is not only a growing problem, but one that the police are struggling to manage. Many of the supposed solutions are only aimed at banks and financial institutions verifying the customer and not the customer verifying the institution. This can lead to customers believing that they are communicating with their bank, mortgage lender or credit card company when they are indeed talking to criminals which can and does lead them to loose much or all of their savings.
Criminals are now undertaking often very complicated and elaborate schemes to trick customers into parting with their money and it can feel as if it is only a matter of time before one is scammed one’s self. While it is often the elderly or most vulnerable who fall prey to their scammers, a wide range of people from all walks of life have lost everything. The financial and psychological distress this causes can and does tip people over the edge. A quick, simple, cheap and effective solution is needed and is fortunately available.
When a customer phones their bank for instance, they are asked not only the basic, name, address, date of birth, mothers maiden name and significant place, or similar questions, but also two specific letters from the customers password. At the end of this process, if everything is answered correctly, the bank is happy that they have correctly identified the customer. However at this point the customer has done nothing to ensure that they are indeed talking to their bank. Yet one simple additional step would overcome this issue.
If the customer were to asked the bank for two specific letters from the same password they could in turn verify that the bank was indeed the bank. There would be no complicated system to be put in place, no pinging of pass codes back and forth, just an additional stage in the verification process.
The safest way to use the additional stage in the verification would be for the customer, once they have identified themselves to the bank, to ask the bank for the two letters from the password, and only if they were satisfied with the response should they go on to give out their mothers maiden name and significant place and the two letters of the password.
I believe that this could be implemented immediately, cost nothing to undertake and significantly reduce fraud and the huge amount of distress and heart ache that it causes. Given the simplicity of the solution, I feel it would be criminal for the government not to force all appropriate institutions to implement it within weeks rather than months. Thank you for considering my proposal.