SCAM- Annual Free Credit Report
You have the right to receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. This is important for you to detect if you have been compromised by identity theft.
To receive your credit report, you need to initiate the request. No one else will remind you. There are scammers who will send an email or have a pop up ad claiming that they are from one of the credit reporting companies or another entity who can help you with your request. As with any other phishing scheme, do not click on links from unsolicited emails or pop ups.
You can order your annual report from one central location at:
· On the web, www.annualcreditreport.com
· Call toll free, (877) 322-8228
SCAM CALLS- How to Handle
Many scammers rely on our natural propensity to treat others with good manners and basic respect. But, if you suspect that you might be talking a scammer, a little coldness might be in order.
When you answer the phone, especially from a stranger, consider the following:
· If your phone rings, and you do not recognize the phone number on your Caller ID, you do not have to answer. You can let it go to your voicemail and review the message later.
· You do not have to call back. Even if the caller claims to be from the IRS or your local court you do not have to return the call to the number that they specify. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss you tax return. To call your local court, or police or sheriff’s office, look that up online separately.
· Greetings are often the trigger for the scam phone call. When your phone rings, you pick it up and say “hello.”, but you hear silence. You say hello again, then someone comes on the line. Why is this? The first hello alerted the autodial software that there is someone on the line, you. Then a human has a chance to join the call. When answering this type of call, don’t say hello the second time. Wait, if you do not hear anything, hang up.
· The best offense is a good defense, so put the other person on the defense. My wife usually adopts her “office” voice when answering phone calls from strangers. She often hears someone say “I’m sorry, I thought this was a residence.”
· No one is entitled to your information over the phone. If a stranger calls you asking for your information, hang up. If they already do not have the information, they do not need it.
Identity Theft Resource Center: