Author Topic: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?  (Read 1136 times)

le-weekend

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S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« on: March 18, 2017, 11:47:54 AM »
I got a postcard from M&T Bank offering a $200 cash bonus if I opened an online checking account (and fulfilled a few other requirements). Eager to try this (and wanting to try out a new bank anyway), I entered all the required personal info online (including those questions that confirm you know your prior addresses and phone numbers), got a confirmation screen, and printed out and mailed in the "signature card" as instructed.

Then nothing, not even the promised welcome e-mail within 24 hours. After I few days I was nervous that I had unwittingly given all my info to a scam website. Called and emailed M&T's customer service line and they couldn't confirm me. After about 10 days I got an envelope in the mail from "M&T Enterprise Security."  The letter is on thin paper and has some grammatical mistakes, so my red flag meter was registering again. The letter says "in reference to your online account request, please fax copies of a social security card and a recent utility bill."

Is this common practice for online checking accounts?

Goldielocks

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 11:53:08 AM »
Usually, here, they ask you to go into an agent in person, as an alternative -- or someone comes to your home in one case, where they had not negotiated with another bank to do the paperwork or did not have a branch.

I have never been asked for a utility bill, YMMV.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 12:02:36 PM »
I'm on my third bonus with M&T Bank and haven't been asked for a social security card/utility bill. You already entered your SSN on the online application and (I think) gave your driver license info as well.

It is not unusual to have to mail or fax a utility bill for address verification, which I've done with several other banks. However I'm suspicious why they didn't give you the option to mail it in a prepaid envelope. I would have looked up the mailing address that they want to send it to you. Looking up phone numbers online is more iffy.

le-weekend

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 12:30:40 PM »
Thank you, yes I did provide ss number during the application and I think driver's license ID number.  I wouldn't mind sending the electric bill but a copy of ss card seems like a dicey thing to be sending over a fax machine. The whole experience feels odd; I'm def not going to risk identity theft for 200 bucks if I'm not comfortable.

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le-weekend

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 12:47:31 PM »

johnny847

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 12:58:17 PM »
I agree with supermatthew - the lack of a prepaid envelope is suspicious.

Also, even if there weren't grammatical mistakes, the fact that the letter is
1) Addressed to "customer" not you
2) Signed "Enterprise Security"

is also suspicious to me. I can't recall any bank I've ever dealt with (and I've dealt with a lot - I pull in about $3k in bank bonuses each year) that did either of the above.

katsiki

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 01:11:54 PM »
Seems like a possible scam.  Do you have credit monitoring?  If not, I would sign up for some of the free ones asap.

I would try to verify this by calling a published customer service # for the bank.

I did have one bank require SS card to open an account.  This was a large national bank and I opened the account in a branch.  I remember because the rep seemed confused that I didn't have it with me.  So, it could be legit.

HipGnosis

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 01:26:12 PM »
I've been reading in preperation to start doing bank account promotion / bonus'.
But I haven't had a SS card in like 40 years.  I was in the military.  I know my SSN.  It is on my military ID. And all my military paperwork, which pretty much fills a file box.

le-weekend

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 03:25:05 PM »
I have one from when I was a kid,  I think my mom took us to get them for future use when getting a job if memory serves. I never take it out of the lock box. And it has my awkward child's signature on it so it wouldn't even match the signature card I sent them!

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le-weekend

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 03:28:36 PM »
Katsiki great idea with credit fraud monitoring. And yeah I did call the official customer service line. After an extremely long hold,   the person said to just wait longer, you're still being processed. No explanation for why the promised email conf never came.  Maybe their processes are just really sloppy...

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CowboyAndIndian

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 08:31:49 AM »
The new rules in banking in the US puts the onus on the bank to "Know your customer". They need to check id and make sure that you are who you are. Preferably a photo id is required (Drivers license or a  passport). They most probably will require SS # for processing year end dividend forms.

That being said, this looks highly suspicious. I would think it is a phishing scheme.

Second the credit monitoring.

pxpaulx

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 10:20:27 AM »
Well, the 2nd phone number is M&T Bank's customer service number.  I would contact only that number for further assistance, and see if they can do an internal look-up of the provided phone number to verify whether it is in fact a department of their's that is attempting to gather the information being requested.  CowboyAndIndian is right about the Know your Customer requirements, this may simply be part of their process, especially if you are a customer that is outside of their physical branch footprint.

radicaledward

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 10:32:19 AM »
My scam detector is going off. I wouldn't trust that as far as I could throw it. Get in touch with the bank and find out what exactly is going on, but typically legitimate requests from banks will say why they need the documents. Also, enterprise security is typically associated with the organization itself so I'm not sure why they would be doing any sort of customer facing activities.

Spork

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 10:59:40 AM »

Maybe I missed it, but the obvious question to me here is this:  You received a post card that referred you to a web site.  What was the web site?

M&T is a real bank.  It is NYSE listed.  It has a real web site.  Does it match the web site on your post card?  If so, I'd suspect everything is okay.  If it still felt wrong, I would definitely phone them and set my mind at ease.

Personally: the reason I don't chase sign up bonuses is just because I'd like to limit the number of entities out there with my PII.  I can't really predict which bank(s) or credit card(s) will have breaches.  But I can predict that if I have more accounts, I have a higher chance of being in a breach.  Maybe the risk/reward ratio isn't for you either.
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Kiwi Fuzz

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 02:32:32 PM »
I just opened an online savings account with Synchrony bank and all they needed was for me to sign a form and mail it back to them.

I did provide my SSN in the application but they didn't require any documentation other than my signature (for the account authorizations in future).

Before opening this account I did look up reviews of the bank. People mostly had issues with their credit products but their savings account had glowing reviews. I haven't heard of the bank you mentioned - I heard of Synchrony via Mint advertising. I would be dubious of it. Did they give you a number to call? I spoke to a customer service person via phone at Synchrony after having some trouble authorizing a funding account to transfer funds into my new savings account and it all seemed professional and not suspicious at all.

Spork

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 02:42:30 PM »
Before opening this account I did look up reviews of the bank. People mostly had issues with their credit products but their savings account had glowing reviews. I haven't heard of the bank you mentioned - I heard of Synchrony via Mint advertising. I would be dubious of it. Did they give you a number to call? I spoke to a customer service person via phone at Synchrony after having some trouble authorizing a funding account to transfer funds into my new savings account and it all seemed professional and not suspicious at all.

I don't mean to pick on you, but this is not a good way of thinking.

Ads are bought and sold by the millions.  Anyone could buy 100,000 impressions and shove an ad at you (and probably run javascript on your machine).

Google is your friend.  M&T has been around a long time.  It has stock trading information going back into the 90s.  It was founded in the 1850s.

The question becomes: was the URL on the postcard you received a phish?  If it went here -- probably not.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Rosy

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 01:46:10 PM »
It isn't unusual for them or any bank to require a copy of the SS card or a photo ID and a copy of a utility bill - but, I admit the letter that you received could be a scam.

What I don't understand is that you can't get an answer from M&T on just where your application is  - in the process, but where? I'd call them about your suspicions and I'd certainly not respond to that letter unless you have confirmation from M&T that all is well.

Things do go awry in the on-line application process and you may yet see your card arrive in the mail, but I'd want an answer by phone or e-mail from M&T to be sure your information was not compromised.

Kiwi Fuzz

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Re: S.S. card req'd to open online checking acct?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2017, 11:53:50 AM »
Before opening this account I did look up reviews of the bank. People mostly had issues with their credit products but their savings account had glowing reviews. I haven't heard of the bank you mentioned - I heard of Synchrony via Mint advertising. I would be dubious of it. Did they give you a number to call? I spoke to a customer service person via phone at Synchrony after having some trouble authorizing a funding account to transfer funds into my new savings account and it all seemed professional and not suspicious at all.

I don't mean to pick on you, but this is not a good way of thinking.

Ads are bought and sold by the millions.  Anyone could buy 100,000 impressions and shove an ad at you (and probably run javascript on your machine).

...

I think you misunderstood my point. The point of reference for why I chose this bank was that I looked at reviews of their products - as I did mention prior to the part you bolded. The only reason I mentioned it was to provide the anecdote that this other bank didn't require a copy of my SSN or other ID. I suppose it might seem na´ve that I would assume OP looked up reviews of this bank before offering them personal information but that was the assumption that I made.

But my not having heard of a bank (with no intention of opening an account with them), the OP having requirements I've never encountered with opening an account, having worked for a bank myself, and other people who are customers of this bank not having had to send extra ID in the past, did make me feel dubious of the request for copies of ID, yes. In this situation I would be seeking out more information. I was backing up the OPs suspicion to encourage them to try to contact the bank or seek out more information. I wasn't suggesting that my lack of knowledge of the bank had any weight - just that I couldn't comment specifically on that bank as I don't have experience with them.