It was a Saturday afternoon when I received a phone call with a pre-recorded message informing me that my debit card had been deactivated. I was then directed to “press 1” for more information. While I was hoping to be transferred to a call center, to learn what debit card was affected and understand my next steps, I was instead prompted to enter in my 16-digit card number.
This was a phishing scam that I’d never been faced with before.
Because you never know when you’ll be on the receiving end of a call like this, here’s a refresher about how to avoid being phished and what preventative measures you can take to avoid identity theft and keep your accounts safe.
Protect Your Information.
While you may be optimistic, you can’t always trust that you are talking to someone who is reputable. That’s why you should NEVER give out Social Security, Driver’s License, Debit, Credit or Check Card numbers over the phone. Make sure that when you are shopping online, that it is within a secure site. Although many big-name sites, like Amazon, offer to save your information to speed up the checkout process, it’s best to avoid saving your personal information. After all, if your account is hacked, someone could go on a shopping spree while you foot the bill.
Check Your Credit Report.
Review your credit report, at least annually, for FREE at www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for unfamiliar transactions or accounts – credit cards, loans or an unexplained dip in your credit score. Consider a credit report monitoring service to receive notifications any time your credit report changes and stay up-to-date with any actions that you would not have taken yourself.
Do your best to stay safe and keep up with new scams so you do not fall victim to the thieves out there in the world. There are other ways that you can be vulnerable online so check out the previous post on 5 Ways to Help Prevent Identity Theft for additional online tips. Apple’s Fraud Prevention section also offers access to the latest fraud news, safety tips and advice.
Malmberg, Jim. “A Basic Primer on Identity Theft” Fraud Avengers. 15 May 2014. 09 Jul 2014 <http://fraudavengers.org/2014/06/a-basic-primer-on-identity-theft/>.