- Protect yourself. Do not give out your Social Security number, credit card number or any other personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the contact.
- Watch out. Identity thieves can be skilled liars and often pose as representatives of your bank, Internet service providers or government agencies to get your personal information.
- Confirm. Know to whom you're talking. Ask the caller for the name, address and telephone number of the company he claims to work for. If possible, verify the information with Consumer Protection at 530-6601 or 1-800-721-SAFE.
- Ask questions. Before revealing any personal information, ask: Why do you need it? How will it be used? How do you protect it from being stolen? What will happen if I don't give it to you?
- Guard your number. Some businesses routinely include Social Security numbers on their application forms. Ask any business why it needs your number. When customers resist, managers usually waive that requirement.
- Don't have it printed. Don't have your Social Security number printed on your checks or driver's license. If already printed, order new ones without the number.
- Carry what you need. Cut back on the number of cards you carry. Don't routinely take your Social Security number, birth certificate or passport with you. Limit the amount of identification to what you actually need.
- Protect your belongings. Protect personal information and belongings in your home especially if you have roommates, visitors, hire caretakers or are having service work done in your home.
- Be cautious. Don't invest with a stranger over the telephone or the Internet. In any type of scam, once your money is out of your hand, chances are it's gone for good.
- Trash carefully. Get rid of papers with personal information. Tear up or shred papers with personal information, credit card receipts, bank statements, expired credit cards and pre-approved credit offers.
Watch out for other common phone scams: www.commerce.utah.gov/dcp/education/phonetips.html.Articles on emergency preparedness and what to do when your identity is stolen: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/resources/articles/data.shtm.
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