Phone and Email
By default, many humans find it extremely difficult to ignore a ringing phone when they do not recognize the phone number on caller id and to ignore emails when they do not recognize the sender of the email. For some reason, the unknown communication represents the Iron Lotus of all communication, in our minds it is a communication that could change our lives, we cannot ignore it. Criminals know this, that is why they call your phone and send you emails and in return many criminals often leave the encounter with cash from your pocket or data about you that they may later use to obtain your valuables.
- Avoid answering your phone if you do not recognize the number. By answering the phone, you will divulge information about yourself that you do not want a criminal to have. You don’t think you will, but just by answering the phone you’ve already given them your sex, possible race, and that your phone number is valid. All of this is revealed even before the criminal begins asking you questions and trying to trick you into believing they are contacting you for a legitimate purpose. Avoid all of this by ignoring the call. If the calls become frequent, then just have the number blocked.
- If a caller keeps you on the line for an extended period of time asking you confusing questions or tries to initiate an argument with you, then this is your queue that you are dealing with a suspicious individual. End the call immediately. Based on what was said in the conversation determines your next step, if they were trying to scam you out of confidential information and/or money, contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams. But if they actually threatened you or your family, you will want to contact your local police department. Make sure you clearly document the conversation and their phone number before passing the information onto the FTC or police, they can’t do anything unless you provide facts, date, time, etc.
- Avoid opening and replying to emails from people you do not know. Those links at the bottom of emails that instruct you to “click here to unsubscribe from this email list” are only legitimate when it comes from a reputable company, if the link is at the bottom of a malicious email, then, when you click on it, you are just telling the criminal your email address is valid and the clicking action may initiate malware. Avoid all of this by ignoring the email (flag it as spam, delete it, etc).
Disposing of Documentation
Avoid throwing away any paperwork that contains information about you, your family, your friends and your investments (name, address, phone, email, account numbers, etc.). Paperwork containing this information should be shredded or burned in your fireplace on a regular basis.
When storing paperwork that contains information about you, your family, your friends and your investments, secure the paperwork at all times.
- If the paperwork is on your computer, then your computer must be password protected and your anti-virus software and firewall software need to remain up to date.
- If the paperwork is a hard copy in your home, then you need to secure it out of site in a locked desk, file cabinet or safe.