As events this past week remind us, the security of information is critical -- whether it's your work or personal information. Colleagues have seen an increase in calls asking for personal or financial information. Callers are asking them to provide social security numbers, patient information or requesting credit card payments over the phone and even by fax. Fortunately, they are not falling for it, but these attempts serve as a reminder to all of us to be on guard.
Regardless of what caller ID may indicate or an individual may claim to be with a particular company or organization, it is recommended you consider the following tips before releasing any personally identifying information.
- If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, end the call and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill, if you do business with them
- If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say "yes" in response to a question, just hang up without answering. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your "yes" to apply unauthorized charges on your bill
- Be aware that caller ID showing a "local" number no longer means it is necessarily a local caller
- If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it's likely a scam. Legitimate organizations will not ask for payment with a gift card.