Banks Focus on Anti-Phishing Education to Combat Cybercrime

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The American Bankers Association, joined by more than 1,200 banks across the country, has been promoting a coordinated campaign to educate consumers about how to protect themselves – and their bank accounts – from phishing scams.

Now in its second year, the award-winning #BanksNeverAskThat campaign uses attention-grabbing humor to reinforce that banks never text, call or email customers asking for sensitive information like their password or PIN.

“The incredible response to last year’s #BanksNeverAskThat campaign inspired us to relaunch a new and improved campaign this October, so we can continue to help bank customers fight back against phishing,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “By bringing banks from across the country together in this effort, we’re able to collectively educate bank customers and shine a light on the phishing threat. We’re grateful to all the banks that joined this important effort.”

Utilizing creative materials developed by ABA, banks across the country deployed the campaign last October as an introduction to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Updates to the campaign this year include new animated videos and social media shares, a new quiz to test consumers’ phishing awareness, and a refreshed educational website available at

ABA designed the campaign to be bright and bold, and with a bit of added humor to break through traditional cybersecurity and fraud awareness campaigns, which often can be forgettable and dull to consumers.

“Do you prefer boxers or briefs? Do you believe in aliens?!,” one of the campaign’s animated GIFs asks social media users. “Banks would never ask you these questions. Here’s another question a real bank would never ask: We’ve spotted some unusual activity on your account - can you please verify your username and password?”

“Some of the phishing scams we’re seeing can be pretty convincing, making it even more important for consumers to be able to spot them and know what to do,” said Paul Benda, ABA SVP for operational risk and cybersecurity. “Hopefully, adding a little humor to the campaign makes the message stick so that bank customers take a moment to stop and think about that text, email or phone call before falling for a scam.”

The campaign’s six short videos offer similarly ridiculous questions that banks would never ask and direct consumers to for more information. At that website, consumers will find the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz, videos, phishing red flags, tips and FAQs.

For more information about phishing scams and how to stop fraudsters in their tracks, visit