Last Updated on February 12, 2023 by Jerome Donovan
What information does a scammer need? A lot of information about you is required to carry out a heist on your bank account and your identity, which you might not know. Scammers have grown increasingly skilled recently, always searching for new methods to access individuals’ personal and financial data. In this blog post, I will take you through the information a scammer needs from you to access your bank account and identity.
Scammers are after your confidential information, such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive details that can allow them to drain your checking account or run up charges on your credit cards. They can use your stolen identity to take out loans, obtain credit cards, or even get driver’s licenses in your name.
The above information is the typical information scammers need about you, but others are also required you might not be aware of.
This blog post will go over the twelve pieces of information that a scammer requires to access your bank account and steal your identity. Knowing what these criminals are after allows you to take precautions and secure your finances.
What information does a scammer need?
To be clear, a scammer doesn’t need all this information to crack your finances. The scammer needs just a couple of them, which gives an excellent combination to access your bank account or steal your identity.
Some of this information a scammer needs is very important; the others are supporting information needed to complete the puzzle.
1. Your full name and date of birth
Scammers need your full name and date of birth to verify your identity and access your bank account information. They may ask for this information through a phone call, email, or fake website.
This could be used to reset your password or give thieves access to your account. People tend to put their dates of birth all over the Internet, which is a shame. People are eager to share special days with the world because social media makes it easy to tell everyone about them.
2. Your social security number
Your SSN (Social Security Number) is very important for scammers, and it is one of the most valuable pieces of information a scammer needs from you.
With your social security number, the scammer can access important information about you, including your credit report and bank accounts.
Social engineering is one of the primary ways a scammer can get your SSN. Once they build trust with you, they can promise to help you increase your credit score if you provide them with your SSN to do the job. Once you release your SSN to them, they will infiltrate everything about you and cause heavy damage to your bank account and identity.
3. Your address
Scammers use your address to verify your identity and confirm that you are the owner of the bank account they are trying to access.
Asides from accessing your bank account, your address might be used for fraudulent verifications that require an address and postal codes. Once you have given your address to an unknown scammer, time after time, he might use your address and implore you to help with verification.
People who gave out their addresses to scammers were victims of unemployment relief scams during the covid 2020 pandemic.
4. Your phone number
What information does a scammer need? When a 2-factor authentication code is the last line of defence over any financial platform, your phone number would be the information a scammer needs from you.
Your phone number will be used to receive verification codes for fraudulent activities if the platform needs a United States phone number.
Also, when you give a scammer your phone number, they may call you with another number, claiming to work for the government. Then they trick you into providing them with additional information, such as your password or security questions.
A scammer needs your phone number for phishing attacks, smishing (sms phishing) attacks, and telemarketing scams. In phishing and smishing attacks, they send fake text messages or call you while posing as a trusted entity, such as your bank, to trick you into giving out sensitive information, such as login credentials or credit card numbers.
The message will often contain a malicious link that, when clicked, installs malware on your computer or phone or redirects you to a fake website where you are asked to enter sensitive information.
A scammer also needs your phone number for vishing scams, where they use automated phone calls to trick you into sending them money. Another common phone number scam is spoofing. A scammer changes their caller ID to make it appear as if they are calling from a different number, often a trusted institution like a bank or government agency.
What to do
When you receive unsolicited calls or texts, do not give out personal information without verifying the sender’s identity. Moreover, your bank will never ask for your PIN, even when they call you to discuss issues.
5. Email address
Just like your phone number, your email address is also your last defence line against a lot of information a scammer needs from you to access your bank information and steal your identity. Scammers often use email to try and access your bank account information. They may send you a fake email that looks like it’s from your bank, asking you to log in and provide them with your information.
Also, when you provide a scammer with your email address, you become a victim of constant phishing attacks. And if you are not aware, you might fall into the trap.
6. Your bank account number and routing number
Your bank account and routing number are the keys to accessing your bank account. Scammers may ask for these numbers directly or try to trick you into providing them through a fake email or website.
Most of the time, scammers simply set up fraudulent transactions or create fake accounts in your name when they lay hands on your information. The con man may even use the information to request your bank transfer or deposit fake checks into your account to facilitate money withdrawals without your consent, commonly referred to as an “account takeover”.
What to do
Having your bank account number and routing number at the mercy of a scammer can be devastating, as you may lose money and find it difficult to retrieve it. Moreover, your credit score will take a hit, depending on what your bank account may suffer. To prevent such stories from becoming your reality, keep your bank account information confidential and never share them with strangers, irrespective of what they claim.
7. Your debit or credit card number
If scammers have access to your debit or credit card number, they can use it to make purchases or withdraw money from your account. The unauthorized purchases may occur online or in stores, and in some cases, scammers with your credit card information may also use it to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Speaking of impersonation, your stolen card information could be used to create a new account in your name for additional fraudulent purchases. The aftereffect is usually damage to your credit score and long-term financial consequences.
What to do
You can keep scammers at bay by monitoring your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it to the bank and credit card company to prevent further damage and increase your chances of recovering lost funds.
8. Your online banking username and password
Your online banking username and password are the keys to accessing your bank account online. Scammers may try to trick you into providing these by sending you a fake email or website that looks like it’s from your bank.
Scammers looking to steal your bank username and password information do so with several malicious activities such as creating phishing websites and sending the links to your email, pitching you to click the malicious link which will tempt you to provide your bank username and password. Usually, such scam websites are a clone of your bank’s website.
Having stolen your bank username and password, a scammer goes on an online shopping spree or even uses your account to take loans in your name. They may even open new credit card accounts in your name and run up large debts, which affects your credit score.
What to do
Do not click suspicious links in your email or message inbox, especially if those are from unknown senders. When you open any emails that look like your bank, verify that the sender’s address is the same as what your bank uses to contact you. Note that even your bank won’t ask for your password.
9. Your security questions and answers
Your security questions and answers are used to verify your identity and provide additional protection for your bank account. Scammers may trick you into revealing these answers by asking you to answer them over the phone or through a fake email, known as phishing or social engineering. The scammer simply poses as a trusted entity and tries to trick you into revealing your security questions and answers.
Besides phishing your answers, scammers try to tell your security questions and answers from your publicly available information, such as social media profiles. Another method is leveraging data breaches to obtain since many people use the same answers for multiple accounts.
What to do
Your security questions and answers should not include your personal information accessible to the general public. Try using names of persons, things, or events that nobody would think of as your security question or answer. Also, do not reveal this information to any email requesting one. If you store your security questions on a particular provider’s website and then learn about a breach on that site, quickly change your information across all channels.
10. Your PIN:
Your PIN is used to access your bank account at an ATM or through online banking. Scammers may trick you into revealing your PIN by asking you to provide it over the phone or through a fake email.
A scammer can use your PIN to access your account information, such as your balance or transaction history, and then use that information to commit identity theft or fraud. Your PIN is also valuable because a scammer can sell it on the dark web to other criminals for illegal activities.
What to do
Protect your PIN by never sharing it with anyone, including family members or friends. Your family members may be trustworthy, but they may accidentally reveal the information to scammers.
Do not respond to unsolicited phone calls, emails, or text messages requesting your PIN or other sensitive information—these are often scams. If you suspect your PIN has been compromised, contact your bank and your credit card issuer immediately. While on it, disable or try changing your PINs.
11. Your mother’s maiden name
Your mother’s maiden name is often used as a security question to verify your identity and protect your bank account. Scammers may trick you into revealing this information by asking you to answer a security question over the phone or through a fake email.
When resetting your online account passwords, a scammer typically needs your mother’s maiden name to answer security questions. They aim to access your accounts, steal your sensitive information, such as your social security number or home address, and use it for identity theft.
What to do
Just be cautious when providing personal information to avoid revealing your mother’s maiden name and other sensitive information to scammers. If you engage a stranger who suddenly picks interest in your mother’s maiden name, they could be up to something, precisely something fishy.
12. Your biometric information:
Scammers sometimes try to access your bank account using biometric information, such as your fingerprint or facial recognition. This type of information is often collected through fake websites or mobile apps.
A scammer needs this information to access a person’s bank accounts, credit cards, computer, and other sensitive information. This type of identity theft is particularly concerning since your biometric information is difficult to change and does not require an easy reset like your password. Thus, a scammer with your biometric data will probably keep it indefinitely.
Meanwhile, your biometric information is a gem on the black market, where other scammers can use it for illegal activities such as criminal background checks, accessing government databases, and bypassing security measures.
What to do
Biometric technology is becoming widespread; thus, the risk of biometric identity theft has surged. But as an intelligent fellow, it helps to be proactive and protect your biometric information. Be mindful of what sources you share it with; it could be a website or a company that requires it for whatever purpose.
13. Date and place of birth
Scammers can use your date and place of birth to steal your identity and access your bank account. This is typically one of the complimentary information a scammer needs from you.
Once they have this information, they can use social engineering to trick banks, credit card companies and any other financial institutions into giving them access to your accounts.
Also, they might use this information to reset your password and take charge of your accounts.
If not taking over your account, a scammer can use this information to create a fake identity that appears to be yours. With your identity, they can apply for loans, credit cards, or other financial benefits on your behalf.
14. ID number
Scammers often require your ID number to fake their identity. It could be your Passport, national ID, or driver’s license number. This also includes your SSN (Social Security number), or other ID details relevant in your location.
Besides gaining access to your bank accounts, applying for loans, or making fraudulent purchases, scammers also need your ID number to access your medical records, tax returns, or credit reports.
What to do
You want to prevent a scammer from causing you significant financial harm and damage to your credit score. As such, keep your ID number and other details on your ID from strangers and never post your IDs on social media for whatever reason. If you have to, make sure to blur out every sensitive information. Remember that your ID number in a scammer’s palm can make it difficult for you to get loans, rent an apartment, or even get a job.
15. Card expiration dates and CVV
Your card expiration date and CVV (Card Verification Value) are needed for unauthorized purchases and credit card fraud. A scammer can use this information to make online or in-person purchases without your consent by combining it with your credit card number and name.
In some cases, scammers use the information to create counterfeit credit cards. A common type of fraud involving card expiration dates and CVV is “card not present” fraud, where the scammer does not physically have the victim’s credit card but uses the information for purchases online.
What to do
Permanently hide your credit or debit card CVV and expiry date while using a public ATM or POS. Unscrupulous people around you may try to copy the details or take a photo of your card. Do not also share your card details with strangers.
By understanding the 12 pieces of information that a scammer needs to access your bank account and steal your identity, you can take steps to protect yourself and your finances. Be wary of any phone calls, emails, or websites that ask for this information.
If you suspect that your bank account or any other personal information has been compromised, make sure to contact the respective institution, including your bank to help take reactive measures to protect you.
There are other information a scammer needs from you, like ID numbers, which include your passport and driver’s license number, Card expiration dates and CVV. So be wary of providing such information to anyone you can’t authenticate to be genuine.
By understanding these pieces of information that a scammer needs to access your bank account and steal your identity, you can take steps to protect yourself and your finances. Be wary of any phone calls, emails, or websites that ask for this information.
If you suspect that your bank account or any other personal information has been compromised, make sure to contact the respective institution, including your bank, to help take reactive measures to protect you.