Phone Scam Hits Area
Valley Telecommunications wishes to remind its members that it is very important to protect personal information, such as social security numbers, telephone records, and bank and credit card information.
Within the last week, Valley is aware of at least one situation in their service area in which a customer provided personal information to an individual under false pretenses. This practice is known as pretexting. Pretexters are often times very convincing and work hard to gain the trust of those they have contacted. Pretexters use a variety of tactics to get your personal information. When the pretexter has the information he wants, he uses it to access your accounts. He pretends to be you, or someone with authorized access to your account. In addition, the pretexter often times will sell your personal information to others, such as identity thieves, who intend to commit fraud using the purchased personal information.
Often times, consumers targeted by identity thieves usually dont know theyve been victimized until the imposter fails to pay the bills or loans that may have been established using the consumers personal information.
In order to protect yourself from pretexting, the FTC has provided the following recommendations: 1) Dont give out your personal information on the phone, via email, or via postal mail unless youve initiated the contact or unless you are sure that it is safe.; 2) Never use your pets name (or childrens name) as a password; 3) Ask the companies you do business with about their policies for preventing pretexting; 4) Be VERY careful if you answer surveys and be careful of the information that you, or those in your family provide; 5) Order a copy of your credit report annually. Make sure its accurate and includes only those activities that youve authorized.
If you think that you are a victim of pretexting, and/or identity theft, the FTC recommends that you do the following: 1) Report it to your financial institution and those you do business with immediately and establish new passwords and/or PIN numbers; 2) Contact the fraud departments at the three major credit reporting companies (Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, Experian: 1-888-397-3742, Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289); 3) Contact your local police as soon as possible and ask to file a report. Even if the police cant catch the pretexter, having a police report on file can help you in clearing your credit records later on; 4) Contact the Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible (1-877-438-4338).
Remember, Valley will never ask for your personal information via email or phone and will provide account information, only after you have verified your security password. We are committed to protecting your account information. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact Valleys business office at 437-2615.