How many times this holiday season has a store clerk asked you for your phone number to process your purchase through a rewards system? Chances are you reply aloud with your 10-digit number. Anyone overhearing your phone number can then use that number to redeem your bonus points right then, or anytime in the future. Protect what you've earned. Write your phone number down on a piece of paper for the clerk and be sure to dispose of it after the clerk has punched your number into his or her computer.
"These rewards programs that stores offer can save you hundreds of dollars a year," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. "Why give away, to some unscrupulous individual with big ears, what you've earned? Protect what's yours. Don't recite your phone number out load at the check-out stand. It's just not a good idea. Good clerks will understand your desire to write it down instead."