By: Kennis Wong
In the last entry, I mentioned that consumers’ participation in protecting their own identity information is an important aspect of an identity theft prevention program to minimize fraud loss. Large financial institutions are starting to take charge in educating their customers, but others are having a hard time investing in such initiatives. I do understand that it is difficult to establish a direct linkage of revenue and positive return on investment for this type of activities. Business may view customer education of identity protection as a public service but not a necessity. After all, if my customer loses his identity information, it doesn’t necessarily mean that identity fraud will happen to my very own organization.
But educating customers about identity protection and fraud trends can be a marketing tool and can increase customer loyalty, in additions to actual fraud prevention.
Although consumers may not be aware of all the precautions they can take to protect their identity, undoubtedly identity theft is a hot topic in the media today. If there are two banks providing about the same service, but one of them goes an extra mile to provide me education on preventing identity theft, I would go with that bank.
Also, as a financial institution, if my customers understand identity protection more, they would understand why I am putting some procedure in place and would be glad to comply with them. For example, they would be more patient when spending another minute in answering knowledge-based authentication questions, so that for their own protection, the bank can assure they are the true identity owners.
Consumers can also actively monitor their credit report, whether through the bank or through other third party vendors. When consumers receive fraud alert from activities that could be a result of identity theft, they can actively contact the financial institutions about the situation. The sooner the identity fraud is discovered, the better off for both the consumers and the businesses.