Three personal details you should never give over the phone

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It’s becoming increasingly popular (and often necessary) to conduct important financial affairs over the phone in our fast-paced and ever-evolving society. While this offers plenty in the way of convenience, there are risks associated with handling such tasks via phone call, particularly with virtual fraud more prevalent now than ever.

Luckily, there are precautions that you can take in order to keep your accounts secure and your personal information safe. Coming up are three personal details you should never give to any company or organisation over the phone.

Your PIN or password

Most of us know that you should never give your PIN or password over the phone – or even in person for that matter. However, fraudsters are surprisingly adept at getting us to give up this crucial information, even if we think we’d never fall victim to such deception and manipulation.

Your PIN or password is usually the final key to getting into any official account that you hold. This means that if anybody other than yourself has access to it, they’ll also have access to the vast majority of your personal accounts – even those with an added layer of security, such as bank or government accounts.

Your card details

There are times that you may be asked to provide your card details over the phone, and while this is a normal practice for many secure companies and retailers, it’s always best to avoid giving out this information where you can.

Any call handling service that asks for this information over the phone should also offer you an alternative way to make payment – perhaps via bank transfer, or through a secure payment portal online. If they refuse to provide this, you may want to check that they are in fact a genuine, reputable company.

Secret question answers

When we set up secure accounts, we’re often asked to store a ‘secret word’ answer to a personal question. Often, this will be your mother’s maiden name, the surname of a childhood friend, or perhaps the name of your first pet.

While these details may seem minor or insignificant (and perhaps easy to decipher by anyone who knows you) they are in fact much more valuable to fraudsters – and key for them to be able to break into your personal accounts, or even commit identity theft. Therefore, you’ll want to keep any secret question answers as close to you as possible.

What should you do if you’re asked to provide these details?

If you’re asked for these details over the phone, it doesn’t mean that you’re under attack by a scammer – however, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re ever in doubt about a detail someone has asked you for, it’s always best to promptly end the call. This is particularly true of a call that you’ve answered, rather than one that was initiated by you. While it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable hanging up the phone, any legitimate company will appreciate your dedication to maintaining your account security, and will respect your decision to provide alternative information, or perhaps deliver your personal details in person.

Stay vigilant

Ultimately, it’s always best to go with your gut, and refuse to divulge any personal information that you feel pressured into or uncomfortable about giving. This way, you can avoid common scams, and know that your personal assets and information are safe.

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