Frank Abagnale is one of the most famous fraudsters in America. Leonardo Dicaprio portrayed him in the movie “Catch Me If You Can.”
After spending 12 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars, he has been working for the FBI for 40 years.
Abagnale is even considered a rockstar in the cyber security industry, speaking at law enforcement and finance conferences across the country. Earlier this month, he was the keynote speak at a University of Texas Center for Identity conference in Austin.
Abagnale said one growing crime includes thieves who send out emails posing as real companies, or phishing, and it’s getting more difficult to spot. Phishing emails are much more sophisticated today.
According to Abagnale during an interview with Kvue:
“There is no government agency and there is no bank, or financial institution, credit card company in the United States that will send you an email and tell you that I need to know your social security number. The minute you see that I don’t care how great it looks – that’s a scam. Because they just don’t do it. Nobody does it.
So, why is it that banks and financial institutions DO call customers and ask for personal information? Below is a typical call that most people have received at some point.
Your phone rings. You answer. The following conversation takes place:
Person calling you:
Hi, this is Jessica from Bank of America. I’m calling about your personal account, but before we proceed I need you to confirm your identity”.
Wait. What? But you called me?!
“Jessica”, now a little frustrated by your lack of cooperation:
I’m sorry! but I need you to confirm the last four digits of your social security number before I can speak with you.
But how do I know who you are? You could be anybody asking me for this sensitive information?
I’m sorry Mr. Walsh but I need you to confirm the last four digits of your social security number before I can speak with you.
Get the picture?
To educate consumers that they should never hand out there personal information to complete strangers under any circumstance, banks and financial institutions must stop calling customers and asking them for personal information that connects them to their bank account. I mean, this isn’t rocket science.
I’m appalled by how flippant banks are when it comes to this bad practice.
Banks should never ask anyone for personal information when they are the ones initiating the communication – no matter what form that communication is. If a bank must speak with a customer, it should ask the customer to contact them back, using the phone number or website that they know to be true.
You can watch Abagnale’s interview with on the Kvue website.