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Unwanted junk mail can be annoying no matter what form it comes in. Is there anything more irritating than retrieving a large stack of snail mail only to discover it’s 80% junk? But digital spam comes with a unique set of problems. Apart from the time wasted answering imposter or robo calls, and the distractions caused by spam in email or text messages, there’s the lingering risk of falling victim to a scam.
The best way to minimize your risk of having personal information stolen is by reducing the amount of potential contact with thieves. Below are three easy steps to do just that.
Block Unwanted Calls
Spam calls may seem unavoidable, but official sources like the National Do Not Call Registry exist to help consumers reduce their contact with questionable telemarketers. Signing up is free, easy, and will drastically reduce the volume of spam phone calls you receive. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2.4 million new consumers registered for the Do Not Call Registry in 2021 (bringing the total number registered to 244 million).
The Do Not Call Registry is a good first step but not a guarantee against all future spam calls. The FTC put together a list of instructions on what to do if you are still receiving spam calls after adding your number to the registry. Tips include:
- Immediately hang up on suspicious sales calls. By doing so, you reduce the risk of any of your recorded responses (even something as simple as “hello,” “yes,” or “no”) being used to spoof your identity.
- File a complaint. Visit www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222 to report fraudulent phone numbers directly to the FTC. You can also reach out to your state consumer protection office.
Reduce Unwanted Text Messages
Spam texts can take different forms, but they all have one factor in common: the correspondent wants you to share your personal information, be it your bank account number, credit card number, social security number, or driver’s license number. With access to any of this information, fraudsters can take out loans, open credit cards, make fraudulent purchases, or even file for unemployment benefits in your name.
When in doubt, do not share any personal information by text. Legitimate companies will never ask you to confirm details this way or pressure you to respond immediately.
Filter Spam Out of Your Inbox
Fortunately, most email services have built in spam-blocking technology. For the messages that slip through the cracks, you can mark them as spam to ensure that future communications go directly to your spam or trash folder.
One easy way to identify messages from potential scammers is to check whether the correspondent gives you the option of unsubscribing from their mail list. If you don’t see the option to opt out, the email could be spam.
Generally speaking, you should immediately delete any message if you do not recognize the sender. This protects you from potential malware or phishing software being covertly installed on your computer, which can allow fraudsters access to your personal information.
By putting these security measures in place, you can minimize the opportunities for fraudsters to access your information by email, text, or phone call. But there’s no guaranteed way to block every scammer. AAA Identity Champion can ensure that you have the support you need in the event of identity theft or fraud fallout, with identity restoration services and identity theft insurance*. Even better, if you’re already a AAA member, the Basic plan offers monitoring at no extra cost to you! Check out our plans to see which is the best fit for you.
*The Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten and administered by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, an Assurant company under group or blanket policy(ies). The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Review the Summary of Benefits.
The content provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be an offer to sell any Identity Champion product or service. A3 Labs LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this or any blog post on the Identity Champion website.