Before You Told Them…

They did not know. So they asked you and you piped right up.

You gave out a piece of personal information about yourself, your family, or your past that was not their business. Now that they know it, they may elect to make it their business…and their business will be fleecing you of money.

Of course it may only be to sell your name to an advertiser based upon something you did in the past. That’s the basic gambit whenever you surf the net – your visits are logged, analysed, and sold if possible. You are a commodity that grows itself, harvests itself, and delivers itself to the market. Sort of like self-picking cotton…everyone their own slave selling themselves down the local river. Yowza…

Or it may be to add yet another personal detail to your file – your mother’s maiden name, your first car, where you lived in some particular year… A skilled interrogator can form questions that draw facts out without the unwary realising they are giving them.

Many of them come close to the sort of ID questions we give for bank accounts and other on-line or telephone connections. Get enough of them for someone and the crooks can pretend to be the victim with a fair degree of authenticity.

So…what to do? Simple: do not take social media or on-line quizzes. Do not supply answers to questions that are posed in this fashion Don’t fill out forms, don’t do surveys. Don’t give unknown telephone callers any information at all. Try running it like this next time the phone calls at dinnertime:

” Am I talking to Mr. or Ms. So-and-So? “

Who are you?

” I’m ( vaguely European name in sub-continental accent, slightly slurred… ) and I’m calling from the “

Stop right there. Say your name slowly and clearly. Spell it out. Where are you calling from? What location? What organisation are you representing? Spell that out. What is your position? Who is your supervisor – what is their name? Where are they right now?..

And long before you get an answer, you’ll get a dead phone line…and will have prevented any information of yours getting out.

I do not suggest paranoia, though it does help to pass a quiet week – but honest defensiveness is quite legal and will benefit you.

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