Phone Jamming and Your Security

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guy Pace


There are some new techniques being tried to facilitate separating you from your money.

An article published in Wired Magazine recently described a scam that floods your home phone with nuisance calls while the bad guys are stripping your financial accounts clean. The link to the right takes you to the Wired article.

Financial institutions set up a number of security questions to try to positively identify you when you call. Unfortunately, most of the standard questions are very lame, and the answers are easy to find (for example, mother’s maiden name).

It is up to you to provide a more secure, verifiable way to identify you if something like this happens to you.

Here are a few suggestions that might help:

Get to know the people in your local bank branch by name and visit periodically to make deposits. If you suspect something is happening to your accounts, you can visit the branch and talk directly to someone you know.

Arrange an emergency code word or phrase with your broker or retirement fund account representative. If you cannot be reached on your normal phone number, you can call them and use that code word or phrase to alert your broker or account rep that something is not right.

If you cannot set up customized security questions, use nonsense responses to the standard questions. For example, for mother’s maiden name, enter something like “King Henry the Eighth.” It has no relationship to the question and would not be guessed.

Get to know your bankers, brokers or reps by name. Make it a point to be a person to them, too. Stop in, chat, do a little business and be friendly. Of course, be sensitive of their time. Stay safe!

Cross-posted from Rapier57

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