In a world where our information is more or less what we have to give for doing just about anything, it is easy to get comfortable with handing out information if it seems reasonable to do so. While we all know not to enter our social security number into a mysterious pop-up on the computer, it is actually quite concerning how many of us are willing to just hand over information if it seems like it is for a legitimate reason. Though we are all used to giving out personal information when we call on an account, giving out information when people ask us is something that we should always be hesitant of, especially over the phone.
There are without question circumstances that require that we give out personal information over the phone, but a good general rule is that you should never give your information out over an incoming call. It is one thing for you to pick up the phone and call the IRS to discuss your tax return, and for them to require your social security number to verify your account. However, if someone calls you and asks for information, you should never just hand it out. This can be tricky when people call and explicitly ask for information and claims to have a good reason for doing so, but there are questions that you will never want to dignify with a response over the phone or you might very well end up a victim of identity fraud.
In the event you receive a call, no matter how legitimate it sounds, you should absolutely never give out your social security number in any capacity. Fraudsters love to ask for your social security number or the last four digits of it because it is the key to stealing your identity or impersonating you on your other accounts. Other popular requests will include your address, names of relatives, last four digits of a bank account, or date of birth. While these questions might not seem terribly threatening individually, when you stack the information, you have given a person basically every security answer to access your accounts. This can and will be used against you. For most security checks with financial and government institutions, these answers are all that someone will need to impersonate you at a later date. For this reason, you should always avoid giving over or confirming any information of this nature.
It can be a little awkward to say no when someone asks you for information, and that notion is exactly what the fraudsters are counting on when it comes to getting you to talk. This social pressure is a common tactic. Remember, under no circumstances should anyone be upset if you decline to give them information. If someone calls and pretends to be from a credible source, politely let them know that you will call back on the number from their website. This will ensure that you can safely handle any of your concerns without running the risk of handing your information over to criminals. You can never be too safe when it comes to protecting your personal information since it is the basis for most everything that you will do.
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