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To protect themselves from account takeover fraud and to protect customers from the effects of identity theft many businesses need to check they are dealing with their genuine customer whenever and however they interact with them.


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Download Fraud Report 2014A popular anti-fraud tool is to ask customers questions that only they should know the answers to, these can be questions based on the intelligence held about them, for example the balance on their mortgage or security questions they have set up with their customer, such as mother’s maiden name and name of childhood pet.

There are many examples of questioning solution used in identity checking but in order to be robust enough to beat the fraudsters long term these solutions need to be flexible to use and adaptable over time, here are three of the reasons why:

1. Data changes over time –  questions need to be both appropriate and valid

When you ask questions you need to know that the data you have access to is up to date and still relevant to the customer. You need to trust that the data sources for the questions you are generating are correct, if they’re not the customer will struggle to validate with you. Asking customers questions, particularly personal ones, that are out of date can also cause distress for your customer and colour their impression of you.

2. Fraudsters are clever – asking the same few questions won’t fool them for long

Fraudsters are clever, organised and can have access to large amounts of data on their victims. Organisations that don’t vary the questions they ask their customer, or only have a small selection of possible questions ultimately risk that the determined fraudster will learn the likely questions and work out what the answers are. Fraudsters are prepared to fail and try again and they can keep coming back until they’ve learned enough about a company’s systems to beat them. To keep ahead of the fraudsters an identity questioning solution needs to be flexible, easy to customise and have the ability to generate a wide variety of questions that your genuine customers can answer.

3. Customers matter – questions that can’t be answered deter genuine customers

The average goldfish could give me a run for their money when it comes to remembering answers to key questions, failing authentication because I can’t remember what I said my favourite book or place was is frustrating to say the least! While your customers understand the need for security to protect them they are not so tolerant if they can’t get through that security. In order to keep security robust but at the same time customer friendly, your questioning solution needs to have a wide enough variety., flexibility and choice of questions that you can present multiple questions if needed but still be confident that the answers are coming from your genuine customer.

To find out about Experian’s Identity IQ please click here.