gold dollarBeware Of Telephone Scams

Questions to Ask Before Giving Information Over the Phone

Some identity theft scams are conducted over the phone. These telephone scams may vary from companies ringing to tell you you’ve won a prize, to credit card verification, to telling you you’ve overpaid a bill and wanting your details so they can pay you back. Always be wary of these types of telephone calls and be prepared with a list of questions to ask the caller before giving any information.

Never give any information that can identify you over the phone, even if the caller says they are from an organization that you deal with. Would a company who you supposedly have business dealings with really ask for your bank account number or your address? Ask for proof that they are who they claim to be. Request a call back number so you can ring them to verify their identity.

If you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate, (for example, why would a bank want to know how many children you have?), ask the caller to explain why they need this information. Can they tell you how it will be used and who they will share the information with?

If, during a telephone call, you are asked for your social security number, you will want to find out a few things from this company. Ask them why they need your social security number and how it will be used. Can they tell you how they will protect your number from being stolen and what will happen if you don’t provide the number? Or is there other information you can provide instead?

There are a number of phone call scams that you need to be aware of, as well as the questions to ask should you become a potential victim of these telephone scams.

1. An operator calls asking you to accept an urgent call from a caller you don’t know. Don’t accept the call, or if you are unsure ask the operator to ask some questions of the caller to help identify them. These questions will usually make the scamming caller hang up.

2. An identity thief will call you asking for your calling card number. They are pretending to be a representative from your calling card company. If this happens ask questions as to why they want the number (a legitimate company will already know your number so wouldn’t have to ask for it) and request a call back number.

3. Other telephone scams usually involve trying to steal your credit card details over the phone. They will try to convince you they need your card number to check your account. The only time you should provide credit card details over the phone is if you are actually making a purchase. Your credit card company will already have your details. Again ask for a callback number and why they need your card number.

New telephone scams will always occur. If you don’t know the caller or are uncertain of the validity of the call, always be prepared to ask for proof that they are who they claim to be and why they want that particular information. If you still don’t believe them, get a callback number and find out how legitimate they really are.

Be vigilant. These telephone scams have a formula for calling. Identity thieves will usually call when you are pre-occupied with other issues such as preparing dinner or while attending your children and not focused on the questions being asked.

checkmarkAlong with this information on telephone scams, check out the other forms of identity theft here.

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