Need for more secure form of verification

A few months ago, I left a service request with a bank and asked that they call back.

I subsequently received a call, purportedly from the bank, asking me to provide my NRIC number and other personal information for verification purposes.

I refused and asked the caller how I could be sure she was calling from the bank.

I also suggested the supposed bank staff use another verification method that would not require me to give sensitive information to an unknown caller.

The caller could not proceed with our transaction and asked instead that I call the bank again for follow-up action.

A friend of mine had a similar experience.

With the rising number of scams, this form of verification (asking for one's NRIC number) strikes me as being risky and unsound.

There is no way the recipient can be sure who the caller is.

On the other hand, if we do not give our personal information, we would not be able to proceed with the transaction.

He requested an appointment with the National Dental Centre.

Subsequently, he received a call, purportedly from the National Healthcare Group, asking him for his NRIC number and date of birth before they fixed his date of appointment.

With the rising number of scams, this form of verification strikes me as being risky and unsound.

There is no way the recipient can be sure who the caller is.

On the other hand, if we do not give our personal information, we would not be able to proceed with the transaction.

Once it is known that hospitals and banks use this verification method, scammers can easily pose as bank officers or clinic staff to dupe people into providing sensitive information.

All banks and other such agencies need to have a better way of verifying information instead of asking recipients to reveal personal information over the telephone.

Eveline How (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Need for more secure form of verification'. Print Edition | Subscribe