Phone, Email, and Mail Solicitations – Dos and Don’ts


  • Protect your Social Security card, credit card, or bank account number—never give this information to someone via phone or email.
  • Be wary of door-to-door contractors.
  • End the phone conversation quickly if you feel uncomfortable or start feeling pressured.
  • Avoid get rich quick schemes. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true or promise a huge reward with little to no risk.
  • Retain your receipts, statements, and packing slips. Check them for accuracy.
  • Shred all confidential documents instead of simply throwing them in the trash.
  • Check out the soliciting company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Order a copy of your credit report each year from the three reporting agencies— They are free.



  • Give any personal information (even if confirming the information) to unsolicited callers.
  • Be concerned about sounding rude.
  • Pay money up front to get a loan, collect a prize, debt settlement, credit repair, or foreclosure help.
  • Deposit a check and then agree to wire someone money. The check is phony and the money you send will come out of your own account.
  • Give in to the pressure technique that you need to act right away.
  • Do any banking via your email account. Only use the secure online access offered by your bank and confirm the address starts with https (the “s” indicates secure site).
  • Give in to foreign lotteries—they are illegal in the U.S. and you cannot win regardless of what they say.


Educational Materials: (If you would like a copy of brochures or DVD, you may visit their website.)

  • “Scams and Frauds: Protect Yourself, Don’t Be a Target” North Carolina Department of Justice at
  • “ A Consumer’s Guide to Sweepstakes and Lotteries” US Postal Service
  • “Guide to Preventing Mail Fraud” US Postal Service
  • “Tricks of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud” DVD offered by and the Better Business Bureau


Local Resources:

Council on Aging (828-277-8288)
Adult Protective Services (828-250-5500)
Better Business Bureau (828-253-2392)
Pisgah Legal Services (828-253-0406)


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