Shortenings, abbreviations and acronyms are often confusing and annoying when it comes to the language of business. One man’s CRM is another man’s B2B or B2C etc. and so the list goes on. Somehow though, the term “legit” as a shorter form of legitimate is almost universally understood.

 

When we examine the issues surrounding the legitimacy of documentation and communication attached to electronically controlled financial transactions of any kind, the question: “is this legit?” seems to crop up with frightening regularity. If you are not sure how legit any communication with you actually is then the advice is very simple indeed — check it out!

 

A real world example

 

With absolutely no word of fabrication, while I was penning (well, typing) this comment blog I took a call from a market research company. They knew my name, the name of my bank, the name of my personal banking manager and wanted to ask me a series of questions about how I found the service I had been receiving recently. My first thought was, is this legit?

 

Very simply I asked for the name of the company, the name of the person I was speaking to and their phone number. I did not confirm that I bank with xyz Bank Plc; I did not confirm that they had the name of my bank manager listed correctly and I barely even confirmed my own name. I directly but politely said that I would check them out for potential phishing and identity theft dangers and invited them to call back tomorrow after I had spoken to my bank.

 

Thank you and goodbye. That is the only way to do it. It is so very easy to be made to “feel comfortable” by a cold caller who knows just a little bit of information about you, but that is how identity theft builds up. Just protect your identity and information as your first move. After all, if they really are legit then they will call back.

 

International tax advisor at Westleton-Drake LLP Daniel Hyde echoes this advice saying that there are some very basic rules of thumb here. “Tax, finance and banking authorities will never write to you by email asking you to submit personal information. Nor would they take you to a website that asks for personal information without using the secure login details that you would be accustomed to entering to access your online banking services for example.”

 

So going forward, on both sides of the Atlantic we are seeing the authorities and the banks carefully and methodically analyzing the future needs of consumers and businesses to engage with them via electronic means. It is in fact the case that today, we see banks and the HMRC and the IRS often sending mobile phone SMS messages more readily than issuing any email-based communication.

 

In the coming years, online filing of tax records and email communication with our banks is surely likely to increase. But for now, while the Internet and the world is changing so much, use caution and skepticism as your starting points and protect your data, your identity and your money.