2 Critical Ways to Protect Your Credit Card Information
I received another call — my third — from SiriusXM radio today, offering me a huge discount on the cost of a six-month subscription. They’ve been calling me since my trial subscription ran out. I listened to their little sales pitch, already aware of how the call was likely to go. Some people just don’t get it, you see.
The terms were simple: I just give them my credit card information over the phone and they’ll reactivate my service for a price that’s two-thirds off regular price. It’s a price that I think is reasonable, actually. Their full price is one I think is not reasonable.
Did you catch the first part of that sentence?
1. Never give out your credit card information to someone who calls you.
They may sound perfectly legit. They may know which companies you do business with. But if they call you, you really have no way of knowing that they are who they say they are. Any time a business calls me with some offer, I shut them down immediately with a simple request: give me the main number of your company’s customer service line, and I’ll be glad to call them and make the order.
About 90% of the time, they understand and give me a number (which I then Google to make sure that’s legit before calling).
Then there’s the other 10%.
Sirius’s operator, who I don’t think works for Sirius but rather works for a generic phone center somewhere offsite, finally said she could activate my subscription via invoice. If I’m willing to pay a $2 convenience fee.
Sorry, I don’t find that convenient. Any company that forces me to pay an extra fee to protect my credit card information just lost a sale.
In any case, there’s a close cousin out there to the incoming telephone call: it’s the incoming email.
2. Never login to a website from a link you receive in email.
I quickly lost count of the number of emails I receive from companies claiming there’s some problem with some account. Some are obvious phishing schemes because they’re from companies I don’t have accounts with. Once in a while, a scammer gets lucky and sends me an email designed to look like it’s from a company I do patronize.
If the email looks even remotely legit, I’ll go to the company’s website (that I type in myself) rather than clicking that “convenient” link the emailer includes. You don’t always know whether that link to “Home Street Bank” really goes to that website or a clever copy designed to steal your information.
Reputable businesses should never put policies in place that penalizes those who attempt to follow these two important pieces of advice, whether those policies mean certain offers are not offered or additional fees must be paid to take advantage of them.