Another Step to Guard Privacy

A call comes in from a person telling you she’s calling on behalf of American Express. The woman sounds professional, and even introduces herself by name. She then says, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance.” Some of us, without giving it much thought, would allow the caller to continue a little bit, letting her confirm your name–because she uses it and you don’t deny it–and letting her confirm that you use American Express–or whatever vendor she is supposedly calling on behalf of.

But here’s the rub. The minute she confirms your name, she’s confirmed other private information about you, and you don’t even realize. She’s confirmed your telephone number–as that’s the number she called you on–and she’s confirmed your address, as almost always, the caller has done her homework and has a list of data relating to you, right in front of her, which she cross-checks.

Then there’s something else very important you’ve provided to her: your voice print.  This may sound paranoid and conspiratorial, but if you take the caller at face value, she said she’s calling on a “recorded line.”  A lot of people don’t realize, but there’s existing technology that can identify you by your voice print, and there will come a day when your voice print will be circulating in the public domain, unless you protect it. That is, your voice print will be another important piece of private information that vendors, creditors and fraudsters will use to achieve each of their own goals. So why give them an easy path.

It’s a funny thing: it may feel reassuring when someone calls and says she’s calling on a “recorded line,” almost as if it’s safer to share your information with her. But it’s actually the opposite.  To prove this, at the end the call, ask the person for a copy of the recording.  Do you think you’ll get it!?

My advice to anyone receiving one of these calls:  simply hang up, or challenge the caller to turn off the recording. Usually the person will tell you she can’t do that, and then you click goodbye. Or she tells you she’s turned off the recording, which you probably shouldn’t believe, because she’s just placing the call and has no authority.

To sum up, be suspicious, and vigilant, of calls like this. Every moment, people are out there to poach on your financial identity, and maybe even your personal identity.

James A. Vickman, Esq. for, the Resource Desk of Vickman & Associates., 310-553-0567

Vickman & Associates is a law firm located in Beverly Hills, California, representing individuals and companies in litigation, trials and transactions.

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