Phony FTC "Officials" Trick Consumers into "Verifying" Personal Information
Scam artists capitalizing on the popularity of existing state "Do Not Call" lists and the proposed FTC "Do Not Call" registry have devised yet another method to trick consumers into giving up personal information, such as their Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number or telephone calling card number.
Here's how the scam works: someone calls you claiming to represent a "Do Not Call" registry or the FTC. The phony registry "official" asks for your personal information, supposedly to verify that you are on the "Do Not Call" list. The caller is a con artist who could use your personal information to run up debts in your name or otherwise steal your identity. Once a consumer signs up with a state's actual "Do Not Call" registry, there is no need to confirm personal information.
The National Association of Attorneys General, the Direct Marketing Association, the National Consumers League, and the AARP all urge consumers to be cautious with their personal information. According to FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris, consumers can avoid these scams by taking the following precautions:
- Don't share your personal information if someone calls you claiming to represent a "Do Not Call" registry, an organization attempting to stop fraud, or even the FTC itself. In fact, don't even stay on the line.
- Keep information about your bank accounts and credit cards to yourself - including the numbers, unless you know the person with whom you're dealing.
- Never share your Social Security number with a person you don't know.
For more information on how to reduce unwanted telemarketing calls, visit www.ftc.gov/donotcall. If you believe that your personal information may have been compromised, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
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