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Think About the Questions First

Think About the Questions First

Safeguarding Your Financial Information and Identity

Think About the Questions First

Even though the technique receives widespread attention, a prime way criminals steal identities is through phone calls. The tactic is simple: An identity thief poses as an employee of a bank or financial institution and asks questions to "verify account information."

Here's a simple rule of thumb: Never provide personal information, account information, or any information to anyone unless you made the call. No reputable bank or financial institution will ask you for information it already knows; most will simply verify your identity by asking for the last four digits of your Social Security number, the last four digits of your account, and/or your zip code. You should never be asked to provide full account numbers, passwords, or account balances – the caller already has that information. If you are in doubt about the identity of any caller, ask for a phone number of a switchboard you can call to be re-connected with the caller; that will help you verify the validity of the call and the institution.

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