Are You a Security Blanket?

How often do you get a phone call from a customer needing information on his/her checking or savings account, loan, or other banking product? I’m sure you can probably answer that with “often enough.” So, how do your employees handle that phone call from a “customer” seeking information?

It’s simple… Authenticate, authenticate, authenticate!

I am sure that you cover authentication measures in your annual security awareness training. However, do they retain that information until the next cycle of training? Periodic reminders are a great way to keep your staff on their toes when it comes to balancing customer service, authenticating customers, and providing customers with information they need.

Your employees MUST confirm (or authenticate) the identity of customers prior to giving them any information. The customer’s address, phone number, account number or date of birth are not good enough! Anyone can answer those questions if they know the person (ex-spouse), have received a payment via a check (WalMart employee), or have done some Internet research (a pretext caller). What you need to do to properly authenticate customers is to ask “out of pocket” questions. Not just one, but maybe two. Some examples of out of pocket questions include:

  • Date of last deposit
  • The source of the last deposit
  • Amount of automatic payments or deposits
  • The name of the recipient for automatic payments
  • A predetermined code word or telephone PIN (yes, this takes some setup and planning)
  • Last check number written (is the caller super-duper close?)

Also, teach your employees to educate your customers. In the process of “politely” providing great customer service, suggest that your employees “politely” educate your customers about proper authentication so that they are aware of why you are asking questions. Let them know that it is YOUR job to help keep their information secure. In doing so, you are asking these questions to protect them, their identities and their assets.

To assist you in your security awareness efforts, here is our “Properly Authenticate” awareness reminder poster that you may distribute to your employees.

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