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Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

Don't call me I'll call you blog

School is out for the summer for most, and families and friends are planning vacations to popular destinations. One of the myriad tasks people are doing in preparation for their trips is calling their banks’ credit card companies to let them know they’ll be visiting and making purchases in cities, states, or countries. What consumers don’t realize is that with today’s advanced fraud detection systems in place, this could actually do more harm than good.

Changing Technology in Response to Fraudsters

For some time now, banks have asked customers to let them know when they were planning to travel away from their homes so that their purchases would not be viewed as fraudulent. In short time, thieves picked up on this practice and began using it to defraud customers by posing as them, calling the bank, making up a story about where they’d be traveling and what they’d be purchasing. Banks would unwittingly approve the fraudulent activity.

Banks have since shifted their fraud prevention strategies to the point that today, when someone calls and offers such information, the account is flagged and monitored more closely for fraud. Technology that wasn’t available 20 years ago now makes it possible to enact real time decisions based on behavioral analysis without involving human fraud analysts. As with all technology, every solution can be honed for optimum performance.

Involve Your Customers for Ultimate Success

Banks that rely on a combination of human expertise, advanced technology and good, old-fashioned communication with customers can achieve superior results when it comes to preventing fraud and accommodating autonomy. Fraud management teams can employ strategies that allow for identification of known customer behaviors that may involve travel to second homes by snowbirds, for example, as expected and therefore non-fraudulent activity. Or, strategies that tell the software to look for and decline purchases that are inconsistent with expected purchasing behavior while on vacation.

As strategies are improved, automation becomes increasingly effective at preventing fraud, particularly when it is combined with the ongoing efforts of experienced fraud analysts reviewing suspicious behavior. But there is one more action banks can take to both prevent fraud and provide good customer service – communicating with customers to engage them in fraud fighting efforts.

Most customers want to help prevent fraud and welcome legitimate communication efforts by banks in the pursuit of that endeavor. The key to successfully engaging customers in fraud prevention strategies is to keep fraudsters out of the communication loop. Banks should look for avenues that fraudsters wouldn’t be aware of or be able to easily access.

Use Apps, Texts and New Card Activations

In addition to posting alert messages to a customer’s online banking portal, banks should consider in-app communications that push secure notifications to customers who have the financial institution’s app installed on their smartphones and are logged in to their accounts.

Text messages, new card activation notices and printed statements can also be used effectively. Banks can solicit communication preferences from customers and then prioritize their efforts based on the feedback they receive. Customers with smartphones can receive text messages about suspicious activity and be immediately engaged to verify their legitimacy.

Fraud attempts will always warrant new security efforts and nimble, adaptive strategies, but banks and issuers that are most successful at preventing fraud will combine new technology with smart communication strategies to keep their customers safe.