Protecting Yourself

This is probably the simplest and most elegant statement I’ve read on protecting your personal information. It’s written about Social Security numbers, but applies to almost everything you have, in terms of bank accounts, credit cards, utility bills, etc.

“Banks and other financial institutions with whom you deal legitimately will already have it, Social Security will never ask for it, and everyone else needs to be verified before information is given.”

The IRS won’t ask either.

When in doubt, don’t provide any of your Personal Information to anyone.

How do you verify someone you don’t know?

  • Ask for a phone number on which you can call the person. Most won’t provide that and may simply hang up on you.
  • Ask for an address. If you get one, and most will hang up on you, put it into Google maps and see what’s there. Vacant lots are a sure sign of a problem!
  • Ask how they got your information to call you.
  • Ask for something in writing. If it’s a crook, putting something in writing and mailing it to you is mail fraud, and that will stop a lot of them.

Finally, if someone calls you and spoofs the phone number, hang up or ignore the call. They’re starting out being dishonest with you, so why would you trust them?

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