NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Are You a Careless Consumer?

Are You a Careless Consumer?


          Have you ever looked at the balance in your check book or saving account and wonder where the dollars went?  Have you ever wondered why you donated to an unknown organization?   Being a responsible consumer in today’s fast moving electronic world requires taking extra steps to safeguard our dollars.  On the flip side, what is a careless consumer?

          Consumer carelessness happens when we misplace checks and/or credit cards or fail to shred trashed financial documents.      We fail to limit use of our personal information when we. . .

• freely give our Social Security number when asked

• have our Social Security number printed on our checks and/or driver’s license

          A thief targets…YOU when he or she . . .

• steals your wallet or purse

• takes mail from an unsecure mailbox or trash

• opens accounts (i.e., credit card, utilities) in your name billed to you or to a different address

• opens a false bank account in your name

• accesses consumer database for personal gain

• is a trusted person (relative, roommate) with easy access to your accounts

• obtains a false ID card sold on a web site

          To avoid being a victim:

• Watch for interruptions in billing cycles, (missing mail).

• Be wary of calls requesting updated or clarification of information.

• Never give checking account, credit card, or Social Security numbers to an unknown caller.

• Review your financial accounts and credit report regularly for accuracy.

• Tear up or shred financial papers before throwing them away.

• Remove your Social Security number from your checks and driver’s license. Also don’t carry the original card with you.

• Use non-sensible PIN numbers (not a pet’s name, a nickname, your birth date, or house number; mix numbers and letters) and don’t write the PIN on your card!

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