Educational Consumer Tips

Guarding personal information

Author: Better Business Bureau

The Bureau frequently receives calls from consumers who have been asked to give personal or financial information over the telephone. Unless you initiated the contact or transaction that prompted the call, fax or email message, this is how you should respond:

- If you received a phone call, tell the caller that you are not interested. Ask for the name of the company the caller represents and ask to be put on that company's "do not call" list. Then hang up the phone. Remember that the longer you talk to the caller, the more likely that you will fall for his pitch.

- Ignore the fax and email. Responding to an electronic message confirms the contact number or address.

- DO NOT provide your credit card number or expiration date, Social Security number, bank account number or any other specific personal or financial information.

- Be very wary of anything the caller says and decline any offers.

It is very important to guard account numbers and private information because once scam artists have the specifics in hand, they can make charges on your credit cards, take money out of your bank accounts and in some cases steal your financial identity.