Stop giving people your personal information. Identity theft is REAL!

Today I noticed a strange number in my recent calls list.  I had seen the number before but couldn’t remember whom it was and they didn’t leave a voicemail.  I decided to return the call.  As a business owner we hate to miss out on an opportunity to talk to a new client and turn it into a sale.  The call went something like this.

Me: Hi I’m sorry, you called earlier and I wanted to return your call.

The Caller: Is this Tamara Highbaugh?

 Me: Yes it is.

 The Caller: This call is regarding a personal business matter, to protect your identity we just want to verify you live at… Blah, blah, blah?

 Me: Yes I do but can you please tell me what this call is pertaining to specifically?

 The Caller: It is regarding a personal business matter.  Can I please verify that the last 4 numbers of your social security number are… blah, blah, blah?

 Me: No, because you haven’t told me who you are and why you are calling.

The Caller: Well ma’am would you like to speak to a manager?

Me:  No, because your manager is going to say the same thing you are.  If you can’t tell me who you are and why you are calling, I refuse to give you anymore more of my personal information.

protect your identityWe often receive calls like this.  Most of them we have blocked due to the vagueness of the person representing the unknown company that we can’t seem to get the name of.   If you don’t think you can be scammed you are wrong.  People are scammed out of their money everyday.

It is imperative that we are protective of the information we share with people we don’t know. Identity theft is rising and you don’t want to fall victim.  In this digital age, a good deal of our personal information is already posted on Facebook or other social media sites.  It only takes a few more details for someone with derogatory intentions to apply for credit in your name or steal your identity.

If a caller refuses to tell you who they are you are not obligated to tell them anything about your person.  Criminals are being more cunning and we have to take note.   Here are a few things you should never give out over the phone

  1. Your Social Security Number
  2. Your Debit or Credit Card Number
  3. Your Address

Many of these companies phishing for your information will say they are calling from a company that is familiar to you.  They will gain a bit of your personal information to make it seem as though you have an account with them or that your information was sent to them from a reputable company.  Don’t fall for it.

Things you should look out for:

Can you find the company online?

Look up the company’s official website or complete a search on Google to see what other people are saying about the company that is calling you.   See what the BBB is saying about the company.  Customer reviews or online complaints will always tell you about a company and what you can expect.

Did they call you to make a sell?

If you want to buy something you should be calling the company… they shouldn’t be calling you.  Think about the company that calls you selling you a vacation or a personal computer.  In almost every instance this is a scam.  These companies will take your credit card information, charge for you products and services you will never receive.

Companies that sale using the buddy system?

Often companies will use the buddy system to suck you in.  You know the ones that say you can’t get the offer with out your partner.  They hope that by selling to 2 people, their chances of getting the sale will be better.  If one of you is awed by the offer, chances are greater that one of you will talk the other into making the purchase.  Now not only do you have the pressure of the sales person, you have the pressure of your friend / husband / significant other.  This is particularly true of vacation scam companies.  They sell you a trip for well under the cost knowing that most of the time you won’t be able to afford the airfare to the actual location or that you will forget.  They have strict regulations with time restrictions.  If your trip isn’t taken with in a certain time frame it is forfeited.  The trip isn’t available to you until next year some time.  I could go on and on with the red flags that will be right there in your face but you look over them because the sales pitch is so good and the thought of getting such a good deal is so outstanding you let your common sense fall by the way side.

Use your common sense.  If you wouldn’t give your personal information to a strange man or woman on the street, you shouldn’t trust someone ranting on off familiar information to you on the phone.  Identity thieves are sneaky and they take advantage of catching off you off guard or your willingness to trust people are who they say they are.

Be careful, stop being so trustful and start doing your research.

Aries – Graphic Design & Internet Marketing / AriesGDIM
Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah
Creative Marketing Director
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© 2014, Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah. All rights reserved. Copy, and reblogging (reposting) this blog or the use of blog post images are NOT permitted without direct permission of The Blackness

Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah
Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah
Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah, IMMS. I am the owner of Aries - Graphic Design & Internet Marketing / AriesGDIM. I have owned and operated my company since 2002 creating small businesses with an opportunity to "Stand OUT" from their competitors with bold professional branding development via print, websites, logo design and online brand management.