Yesterday, our colleague, Mike, wrote about some things to avoid in order to protect yourself from criminal activity, fraud, and unethical marketplace practices. If you haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions yet, today we write about 10 tasks you can perform that will help you be more proactive about protecting your personal and financial information.
1.Register for the state and national Do Not Call Lists
*Indiana in.gov/attorneygeneral/2445.htm or 888-834-9969
*Kentucky http://nocall.ky.gov/default.aspx or 888-382-1222 (they use the National Do Not Call Registry, but there is a link to the National Registry on the Kentucky government website)
*Illinois http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/donotcall/donotcall.htm or 888-382-1222 (Illinois also uses the National Do Not Call Registry, but there is a link to the national Registry on the Illinois government website)
*National Do Not Call Registry 888-382-1222 or https://www.donotcall.gov/
2. Get your free credit report annually
*mail Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
3. Review your phone bill and credit card bill carefully each month
*see article about cramming http://bbbconsumereducation.com//?s=cramming
4. Put your “stop contacting me” request in writing
*contact individual companies if you have done business with them in the past
*fill out a registration form from DMA Choice & send it in with $1; this will reduce the amount of unsolicited national advertising mail you receive
*phone 212-768-7277, ext. 1888
*mail (Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512)
*opt out of unsolicited credit card applications
5. Memorize your social security and bank account numbers & put passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts
*after you memorize your social security and bank account numbers, remove your social security card and your bank account numbers from your wallet or purse
*passwords should be long and should be different for each account
6.Report questionable offers or fraudulent activity
*to the FTC 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1
7. Ask questions and verify
*bbb.org/evansville or 812.473.0202
8. Read the fine print
*even though it takes more time, it will be worth it if you avoid having to pay for something you didn’t intend to buy.
9. Run a questionable offer by a friend or family member in addition to calling your BBB at 812.473.0202 before signing a contract or agreeing to a service
10. Thank a business that has done right by you
*Too often we are quick to complain and we forget to report our good experiences with a business. Your BBB has a way for consumers to compliment a business.
*Go to bbb.org/evansville/customer-reviews, type in the name of the business in the Search box. When the name of the company comes up, click on the “Submit a Customer Review” link to write your positive review.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/evansville.