Identity Theft and Unsolicited Phone Calls

Another Step to Take to Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft

An important step to reducing you risk of identity theft is to always be vigilant. You should never provide your social security number or any other personal financial information to someone who calls your house. If you are interested in applying for a credit card and call the credit card company, you will need to provide your social security number in order to apply. That is okay because you are the one who is initiating the call. However, if a credit card company calls you, don’t give any information that could lead to identity theft. There are no guarantees as to who it is on the other end of the phone line.

When a Stranger Calls…

The problem arises during the times when you receive an unsolicited phone call. You never really know who is on the other end of the line, even if you have Caller ID. Some products can alter the way a number appears on your caller ID number. Don’t worry about being impolite. If you’re not interested in the offer an unsolicited “telemarketer” presents to you, then you are simply not interested. If the call is legitimate, the caller will understand because merchants know not everyone will utilize their products or services. If the caller is unusually forceful or rude, that might be an indication that the caller is attempting to get information from you -- potentially for identity theft purposes.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Calling Back

If you are faced with an offer that interests you and are asked to provide personal financial information that you are uncomfortable giving, you can always offer to call back after you confirm that the company’s phone number matches the number the caller gave you. If the offer is only available during the initial phone call, simply pass on the offer. The risk of identity theft is too great. Keep in mind that individuals who are looking to get personal information from you can be incredibly polite and professional, so sometimes it might not always be obvious that you are at risk. It is much easier and safer to establish a policy in your household about never providing personal financial information to anyone who calls your home.

Reducing your risk of identity theft should be a matter of routine. Get in the habit of keeping unsolicited phone calls brief and never provide any personal information to such callers. Your vigilance will pay off.

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