Offers Out Of Nowhere
Have you gotten a call recently from a number you don’t recognize, offering to lower the interest rate on your credit card, or telling you that you owe some money on a utility bill? I get at least 3 of these calls a week, and they appear to be more common lately here in El Paso. You have to be very careful before you give them any information, these calls could be phone scams. Think about what could happen if the voice on the other side of the line isn’t really who they say they are and the financial damage that can be caused to you. The best way to detect phone scams is… if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Just A Few Questions…
I have answered as many of these calls as I could in the last month, for research purposes. This is not recommended. It’s always best to avoid these calls, but I wanted to dig a little deeper. Most of the scammers I talked to were just professional-sounding enough to get their proverbial foot in the door, and I would answer a few simple yes or no questions like “Do you have a credit card?” or “Would you like to lower your interest rate?” It all sounds normal and routine, until you show a bit of resistance or skepticism. Pressure and urgency are the biggest tools in phone scams, they’ll try and get you to give them information, which brings us to a very important point.
Saying No Is Your Best Defense
The best defense you have over phone scammers is patience and the word “no.” Most of the organizations you do business with, like credit card companies, financial institutions and utility companies won’t initiate a phone call with you requesting your personal information. Contact the organization they say they’re from at that organization’s publicly listed phone number. If you owe a little extra on a bill, or qualify for a lower rate on your credit card, whoever picks up at that organization’s official phone line will be able to help you.
Consider Your Options
Consider the minutes you’ll spend confirming a request for information against the weeks and months it can take to straighten out a case of identity theft. A relatively mild case of identity theft can still result in receiving new card and account numbers that have to be updated, merchants that have to be contacted and a pile of paperwork. More serious cases can even result in having your accounts closed out and sometimes a year or more’s worth of work to reclaim your money and identity.
Call And Confirm
GECU members who want to confirm an offer or request for information can call 778-9221 or toll free at 1-800-772-4328. Take it from me, if you get a call from a strange number asking for your personal information; don’t take their word for it. Taking a few minutes to confirm a story can save you the headache, heartache and expense of trying to recover from identity theft. You owe it to yourself.
We make every effort to keep your personal and financial information safe from any threat. Click HERE to find important tips to help protect your accounts and personal information.