Identity Theft and the Traveling Salesman

Helpful Hints for Avoiding Identity Theft

Identity theft can be disguised in many forms. I don’t know about where you live, but do you ever get those door-to-door salespeople who arrive on your doorstep selling magazines? A few months ago I had a young salesperson who showed up at my door trying to sell magazines. It’s quite possible his company was completely legitimate. He wasn’t a college student, but he was competing for a trip to Cancun or some other exotic destination and had to sell enough magazine subscriptions to qualify. I wasn’t willing to purchase magazines from someone who just showed up on my doorstep because I was concerned about the possibility of identity theft.

Red Flags Galore

There were at least a half dozen scenarios that I quickly began thinking of when the magazine salesperson went through his scripted sales pitch particularly based on my expertise in the area of identity theft. Assuming the company was completely legitimate; there were too many other concerns I had.

The salesperson was walking on foot. If I gave him my credit card information, he would be carrying it around on a flimsy sheet of paper for the rest of the afternoon. Perhaps, as he arranged things in his bag, my subscription information would fall out along with my credit card number. Also, he didn’t accept cash. Not that I would be comfortable handing cash over to a stranger on my doorstep, but I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable giving that individual a personal check or credit card number. This salesman was probably no more likely to steal my information then any other salesperson I encounter on my many shopping excursions, but I wasn’t willing to risk identity theft on a sale that I didn’t initiate myself.

Just Say No

If you can avoid answering your door, that is your best option. I just happened to be outside playing with my daughter, so I was unable to avoid conversation once I was approached. Be polite. You don’t have to voice your concerns about possible identity theft. You can always say that you have a limited amount of money budgeted for magazine subscriptions, and you prefer to order from your niece or nephew when they do their annual school fundraiser. It is possible to avoid identity theft but not slight a door-to-door salesperson in the process.

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