And what s your dog s name understanding why companies ask for personal information when you should provide it and how you can protect yourself from identity theft


And Whats Your Dogs Name? Understanding Why Companies Ask For Personal Information, When You Should Provide It, And How You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft


Have you noticed that the companies you do business with are getting nosier? It seems every time you turn around you are being asked to provide ID or your social security number. In many cases, these companies are asking just because they can, and often consumers dont know enough to say no when providing the information is not warranted.


For example, did you know that it is against Visa/MasterCard regulations for a business to require that you show ID in order to comp...


ach processing, credit card processing, merchant account, secure information, identity theft


Have you noticed that the companies you do business with are getting nosier? It seems every time you turn around you are being asked to provide ID or your social security number. In many cases, these companies are asking just because they can, and often consumers dont know enough to say no when providing the information is not warranted.


For example, did you know that it is against Visa/MasterCard regulations for a business to require that you show ID in order to complete a credit card transaction that has been electronically approved? And, the US government has recently made it illegal to require that you have your social security number printed on your drivers license.


However, there are many cases where providing personal information actually helps to protect your privacy. Such instances include filling out an application for a loan, an insurance policy, or applying for an ACH or credit card merchant account. If youve ever seen one of these applications, youve noticed some specific information that is commonly requiredyour social security number, drivers license number, and even birth date.


With the news stories and consumer alerts about identity theft, you probably prefer to just keep your personal info to yourself. Why do these parties need to know your personal information? Here are a few reasons:



  1.      Written legislation: The Patriot Act requires certain identifying pieces of information before granting individuals/organizations access to funds.

  2.      Fraud Protection: Are you really who you say you are?

  3.      Financial Risk: Are you or your business financially solvent, and how do we know that?


So how do you know the company asking for personal information is who it says it is, and that the person you are speaking with or sending information to actually represents the company he says he does? As a consumer, there are ways to protect yourself.


Almost every organization handling your secure information will have security logos on their websites and also have a page stating the security measures taken. For example, check out to see an example of a security page for a merchant processing company. Be sure to look for pages like this if you are ever unsure about the organization you are submitting your private information to. If you are unsure about the person you are speaking with, hang up, and use the Internet, telephone book, or directory assistance to find the official phone number for the company you are dealing with, and call back directly. You can also ask for references or look up the business in the Better Business Bureau company directory at .


In actuality, by asking for this identifying information, companies are trying to prevent identity theft. Although it may seem like the next question you might be asked is, And whats your dogs name?, just remember that, ultimately, its for the protection of consumers like you that this information is requested and validated.


 



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