Despite the risk of fraud associated with the theft of Social Security numbers, just five of the nation's largest 25 banks have stopped using the numbers to verify a customer's identity after the initial account setup, a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research finds.
Social Security numbers are required to open a bank account, but shouldn't be used after that as a requirement for initiating communications with the bank, Javelin says. Some banks, for instance, require customers to provide the numbers when calling on the phone to speak with a bank representative, or contacting the bank to reset a password.
Use of the numbers can make customers vulnerable to "account takeover," in which a thief gains access to a bank account.
The five banks that no longer use Social Security numbers are: Comerica, Regions Bank, TD Bank, U.S. Bank and Union Bank. The country's biggest banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, still use Social Security numbers, according to the report.
Overall, however, the report gave top marks to Bank of America for prevention and detection of identity fraud, and gave Chase the top ranking for resolving problems once they occur.