John has just received a ‘notice of duplicate filing’ from his state’s tax office. A million questions run through his mind (and your customers’ minds) when he gets this letter.
Did I make a mistake?
Did someone steal my identity?
How did that happen?
Is this going to damage my credit score?
What do I do?”
The tax deadline is a few months away, but states across the country have already halted tax refunds after TurboTax was tied to reports of identity theft. An increase in suspicious filings has led to stricter authentication rules at the tax software company and greater scrutiny of returns from tax officials.
This is what’s been happening:
- A thief gains access to a John’s personal info.
- He submits a fraudulent claim early in the year, before John is even thinking about filing.
- The thief receives a refund check for thousands of dollars.
- John files a return a few weeks before the deadline.
- Finally, John receives a notice of duplicate filing.
As the Boston Globe reports, “in just the first six months of last year, 1.6 million taxpayers were affected by identity theft, compared with 271,000 for all of 2010”. The enormous surge in data breaches at places like Anthem, Target and JPMorgan, coupled with services like TurboTax (which makes doing taxes fast and simple) makes committing fraud easier than ever. A single person with a sixth grade education was able to steal $3 million in tax refunds. It took 3 years before the government caught on to her.
It takes an average of 120 days for the IRS to resolve these identity theft cases.
Until recently it took around 312 days.
Bank Marketers Can Help
John’s looking for help and so are your customers. In today’s world it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ personal information gets compromised, but ‘when’. In a single cyberattack, tens of millions of Americans can have their information stolen. Who is going to answer John’s questions?
If his bank can answer important identity theft questions and help him prevent or resolve an issue, he’s going to show more loyalty and be more profitable for the bank. Nothing builds a relationship between a customer and an institution like when the customer has a problem and it gets solved properly.
There’s a very good reason for his bank to help him out. A bank can leverage its position as an answer provider to connect customers and salespeople. Customers need a source where they can get answers. Cybersecurity and identity theft help sections on a bank’s website are a valuable tool for a marketing arsenal. This information can lead to sales if it’s delivered as part of a library where customers can learn more about your products and connect with your salespeople.
John doesn’t know what to do. He trusts his bank so his first thought is to jump on their website to see if they can help. He finds exactly the help he needs and gets exposed to other content that’s relevant to him. He knows that when it’s time to get a mortgage he can go to his bank’s website and find answers, all while being a click away from a salesperson.