Read your mail carefully
The other day I received a letter from one of the world’s largest department stores, an American chain that has been operating in Canada since the 1960s. I have dealt with this company for years, and even worked for them as a student. So naturally I trusted the authenticity of the “validation form” they sent me, which was marked RETURN IMMEDIATELY.
I have a credit card with the company, and they were asking for my mother’s maiden name “for security purposes”. I was just about to fill in the form and return it when I read the fine print. By signing and returning the form, I was authorizing them to charge my account $15 per year for their “Hot Line” service, which allows me to cancel all my credit cards with one phone call should my wallet be lost or stolen. Apparently, I had been receiving this “service” free of charge for the past six months, and now had to pay for it if I wanted to continue.
The funny thing is, I’d never sent them a list of my credit cards, so the “free service” was absolutely useless. Besides, if I went to the trouble of preparing a list for them, I could simply use it myself to cancel my cards.