• New research from EE shows 64% of Brits still use their mother’s maiden name as a security question for bank, utility, or telco accounts
  • EE will remove the option from security questions and is encouraging customers to set up stronger protection such as two-factor-authentication
  • EE expects to block over 10 million attempts to scam its customers this month, having blocked 3.3 million texts, and 4.9 million calls around Mother’s Day last year*

EE is today announcing that it will permanently remove the use of ‘mother’s maiden name’ as a security question for all customers across EE and BT, in a bid to enhance protection against the rising threat posed by scammers. The change follows new research from EE that suggests two-thirds (64%) of the British public still use it as a security backstop for sensitive personal accounts, such as banking, utilities, and other subscriptions.

This Mother’s Day, EE is urging consumers to ‘leave mum out of it’ and opt for more robust two-factor authentication, as part of its ambition to be the safest network in the UK. EE blocked 3.3 million fraudulent text messages, and 4.9 million number spoofing scam calls around Mother’s Day last year and expects to block more than 10 million this month.

Helen Burrows, Policy Director at BT/EE, said: “This Mother’s Day, we want to help people take a small step towards protecting their families from the millions of scam attempts by removing the option to pick your mum’s maiden name as a security question. I was surprised to see one in four Brits say companies don’t give them a choice in the matter, which is one of the reasons we wanted to set an example.”

Mother’s Day is sadly always a scam risk for mums across the UK, as millions of unsolicited yet much-appreciated deliveries turn up on doorsteps across the country, opening the door for the now ubiquitous delivery scam. We stop millions of scam attempts from reaching our customers every month, and this weekend will be no different. I’d urge consumers to be on their guard this weekend for the few that make it through network defences.”

The study, commissioned by EE, shows that two in five (44%) people using their mum’s maiden name as a security question do so for more than one account, with 1 in 20 (6%) doing so across more than five, meaning a correctly guessed answer could give a scammer access to multiple accounts.

The research also shows younger generations are stepping away from using security questions as a last line of defence. Half (53%) of those aged 18 to 34 currently use their mother’s maiden name as a security question, compared to 68% and 70% of people aged 35 to 54 and over 55 respectively.

Delivery Scams

The most common scams around Mother’s Day are delivery-related, as many plan to surprise the mums in their lives with gifts like flowers, chocolates, and champagne. These scams include missed delivery or track delivery text scams, which prompt unsuspecting recipients to click on links that give criminals the opening they need to steal data or money.

As part of its ongoing commitment to keep families safe, EE is taking a stand against scammers by introducing a host of innovations designed to keep fraudsters at bay. Since 2023, it has introduced International SMS blocking, SMS blocking of trusted routes, and Enhanced Call Protection, using AI and other cutting-edge techniques, to address prevalent scams and reinforce network defences.


EE’s top tips to avoid scams:


  • Take a moment to stop and think and trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true or is suspicious, there’s probably a catch
  • Don’t stay on the phone unless you’re 100% sure the caller is genuine
  • Don’t give away any of your personal details or give anyone access to your computer – if you think you might have provided your bank account details, contact your bank immediately
  • Keep your device up to date with the latest software and firewall updates

What to do if you receive a suspicious call:

  • Put the phone down and call back on a trusted number to verify the call
  • Text the phone number and incident to 7726, free of charge, so your mobile phone provider can investigate
  • Block numbers after reporting them
  • Make others aware of these types of calls and the numbers they are coming from, so they are also in the know

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About EE

EE is one of UK’s largest subscription businesses, backed by the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator.


Built on the foundation of decades of mobile and broadband leadership, EE is on a mission to be the most personal and customer-focused brand in the UK by playing a more meaningful role in customers’ lives, with a suite of exciting products and services open to all UK consumers, available via a new ‘EE ID’ digital platform.


EE’s mobile network continues to receive extensive recognition including UK's best overall network by RootMetrics® every year since 2014, as well as being named Network of the Year at the 2022 Mobile Industry Awards.


EE is committed to offering first class service in the industry and has over 400 stores across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019.


EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards. EE won Best Repair Service and Best Network Provider at the Mobile Industry Awards in September 2023 and was recognised as the provider that does more than any other to deliver a great service.


EE is part of BT Group's Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK.


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