Customer Disservice: The Newest Form of Identity Theft

Just about nobody looks forward to making a call to any company's customer service center, and now, you have even more reason to dread the task as it seems identity thieves are popping up here too. They are already snooping through your mail, falsely filling your prescriptions and even phishing for information online, and now, they're scamming you on the phone and online.

These fake customer service identity thieves aren't just attacking through phone calls; they are also tricking customers into sending their information through chat sites and forum sites. Generally, the types of information they are asking for are your birthday, address, social security number and even you mother's maiden name.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself while interacting with customer service professionals:

• Pick reputable service providers. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to pick the best service providers before engaging in business. Not all companies offer secure access to customer service or security measures to protect your identity.

• You call them, not they call you. Fake customer service predators will attempt to contact you and lure you into sharing your personal information through tactics that make it seem like you are missing out on a great deal. It is highly unlikely that real customer service representatives would ever call you, so don't hand over any information unless you call them.

• Monitor your accounts. Most identity theft victims are successful because they aren't caught right away. Always be sure to monitor your credit or bank accounts to make sure nothing fishy is going on.

• Freeze. While your first reaction after finding out you may be an identity theft victim is to close all of your accounts, this may actually be harmful to your credit score. Instead, simply freeze your accounts until you can sort out the situation.

Identity theft is more common than you think, and thieves are out there constantly coming up with new ways to get to your identity. Your best defense is to always be careful who you reveal your personal information to, and to enroll yourself into identity theft protection services.