Whatever the purpose for filling out an application – a loan, insurance policy, or in our case, a merchant account – you’ve probably noticed some specific information that is required – your social security number, driver’s 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:
- Written legislation:The Patriot Act requires certain identifying pieces of information before granting individuals/organizations access to funds.
- Fraud Protection: Are you really who you say you are?
- Financial Risk: Are you or your business financially solvent, and how do we know that?
So how do you know we are who we say we are? 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. Check out our PaySimple security page to see what it should look like. 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 at www.bbb.org.
Don’t forget to use the internet to your advantage. Search out reviews on the company you are investigating. Make sure that people have said favorable things about them. With Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and so many other consumer protection agencies around, you should always know who you’re dealing with.