Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Are You the Next Victim? – The Score Card

Compare what you know and what you have been doing correctly with the official Score Card. Now here are the correct answer to each question.

Although identity theft can happen anywhere to anyone at anytime, there are steps you can take to minimize the possibility. Here is information in a short quiz form to help you put it into practice for a long time.

1. When you receive an unsolicited offer of a “pre-approved” credit card in the mail, you:
    A. Shred it.
    B. Throw it in the trash unopened.
    C. Open the envelope and throw the contents in the trash.
    D. Use the envelope to send back other junk mail.

Correct Answer: A. Shredding makes it difficult for “Dumpster Divers” to piece together your information, although many would rather spend the time and effort to do so than get a real job. Without shredding it, they can recover and fill out your application, cash blank checks, or just get your personal information from the offers.

2. What do you do if an expected credit card bill doesn’t arrive?

    A. Suspect it was intercepted and contact the credit card company.
    B. Figure out got off early that month.
    C. Calculate how much you think you owe and send a check.
    D. Wait a couple of weeks to see if it shows up.

Correct Answer: A. While it may have be damaged or lost at the post office, err on the side of caution, and contact your credit card companies.

3. How often do you check your credit reports?

    A. Every time you apply for a loan.
    B. Whenever you feel like it
    C. You check your credit reports regularly
    D. What are credit reports?

Correct Answer: C: Monitoring your credit report on a regular basis is an important factor in quickly uncovering potential identity theft.

4. When you send mail, do you:

    A. Put it in your mailbox and raise the red flag the night before.
    B. Put it in your mailbox and raise the red flag in the morning before leaving for work.
    C. Ask your neighbor to drop it off since he passes the post office on the way to work.
    D. Drop it off at the post office yourself.

Correct Answer: D. If you leave your mail in the mailbox overnight or for many hours before the mail carrier picks it up, criminals can get there first, especially when they know no one is home.

5. When you receive mail:

    A. Someone is at home and it is hand-delivered.
    B. It sits in my mailbox for only an hour.
    C. It sits in my mailbox for six hours or longer.
    D. You pick it up at the post office.

Correct Answer: D. Unless it is hand-delivered, mail that sits in a mailbox for many hours becomes an excellent target for criminals. To make matters worse, you won’t know if a credit card offer was intercepted until it’s too late.

6. At this moment you know that your Social Security card is in:

    A. Your wallet or purse.
    B. The glove compartment of your car, just in case.
    C. A secured location at home.
    D. Your mother’s house.

Correct Answer: C. There is no valid reason to carry your Social Security other to and from places of business that require it. After using it for employment of other Government-related purposes, return it immediately to a secure location.

7. How often do you check you credit card statements?

    A. As soon as the statement arrives
    B. Just before paying them
    C. You check them online using a secure computer.
    D. Whenever you get around to it.

Correct Answer: A. Check to see if your charges match what you actually bought as soon as possible after the statement arrives. If you check them online, be sure your computer has a firewall and updated virus protection.

8. How often do you check you checkbook?

    A. Once a month
    B. Every quarter
    C. Once a year
    D. You wait until the bank calls and tells you that you’re out of money.

Correct Answer: A. Balance your checkbook and study your statement at least every month.

9. When you receive an unsolicited phone call to buy something, you:

    A. Listen to the sales pitch and, if it’s a good deal, you give them whatever information they need.
    B. You hang up immediately
    C. Give names and phone numbers of friends to call.
    D. Report them since you’re signed up on the “Do Not Call” list.

Correct Answer: D. Put yourself on the “Do Not Call” list. Unsolicited phone calls are not only annoying interruption of your family time, but they could easily the portal through your vital information may unwittingly be passed.

10. Where do you keep your financial reports in your home?

    A. In s locked safe
    B. On the nearest flat surface
    C. In a file cabinet
    D. In an unlocked safe, since you can’t always remember the combination.

Correct Answer: A. Keep all of your vital records and reports in a secure location, preferably in a permanent location.

11. Your online service provider calls and says they need your Social Security Number or password. What would you do?

    A. Give them the information
    B. Make it up.
    C. Report them to someone higher in your service provider’s management team.
    D. Ask them for a phone number so you can call them back.

Correct Answer: D. Reputable internet service providers will never call and ask for your personal information.

12. When you receive an email with a get-rich-quick scheme that includes an attachment, you:

    A. Hurry to open it since this might be your lucky day.
    B. Delete it immediately.
    C. Open the email but not the attachment.
    D. Forward it to everyone in your address book.

Correct Answer: B. or C. Deleting emails before opening attachments avoids any possible virus or spyware that access personal information on your computer.

13. You receive an email from Nigeria saying, if you can help the sender transfer money out of the country, you will be rewarded with a huge chunk of it. You then:

    A. Provide whatever personal information they ask for.
    B. Shop for a new boat and car.
    C. Delete it
    D. Report them to the Nigerian Embassy

Correct Answer: C. It's a scam. As inviting as it might seem, don't fall for it. Delete it Immediately!

14. When you select a computer password, you use:

    A. Random letters and numbers
    B. Your mother’s maiden name
    C. Your pet’s name
    D. Your birthday

Correct Answer: A. Random letters and numbers are the safest. There are remote computer programs that can run through millions of possibilities in minutes to decode passwords.

15. At work how often do you change your password?

    A. Once a week
    B. Once a month
    C. Daily
    D. Never. You stay logged on since it’s easier.
Correct Answer: A. Once a week is probably a good idea.

16. Where do you store your computer passwords?
    A. You tape them to your computer monitor.
    B. You keep them in the upper right-hand drawer under a book of matches.
    C. You memorize them.
    D. You keep them in your wallet or purse.

Correct Answer: C. If memorizing your passwords is impossible, store them in a secure location. By putting passwords in your wallet or purse you're offering criminals "one-stop shopping" should you ever lose your wallet or purse.

17. If you lose your wallet or purse, or think it was stolen, you should:

    A. Call your bank, creditors, and Dept. of Motor Vehicles immediately to alert them.
    B. Go back to bed and hope tomorrow will be a better and brighter day.
    C. Buy a new wallet or purse.
    D. Do nothing since you believe people are inherently good.

Correct Answer: A. Notifying banks, creditors, and Dept. of Motor Vehicles will minimize the damage and increase the chances the criminals will be caught. Requesting replacements will eliminate "delayed" criminal action.

18. If your lost wallet or purse is returned to you with everything seemingly still intact, you:

    A. Call your bank, creditors, and Dept. of Motor Vehicles immediately to alert them and see if the cards have been used.
    B. Call your bank, creditors, and Dept. of Motor Vehicles immediately to ask for replacement.
    C. Thank your lucky stars.
    D. Take the finder to lunch.

Correct Answer: B. Better to be safe than sorry. Alert your bank and credit card companies and request replacement cards. Your number could have been copies before your wallet or purse was returned to you. Of course, you could take the finder to lunch, if you are so inclined, but make sure your credit is still good beforehand.

19. When you go out of town for a lengthy period, you:

    A. Suspend delivery of your newspaper.
    B. Suspend delivery of your newspaper and ask the post office to hold your mail.
    C. Have a local teen take in your mail and water your plants.
    D. Put flyers in your neighbors’ mailboxes announcing your vacation dates.

Correct Answer: B. While the teen may be trustworthy, realize there is added risk involved. If you must do this in order to ensure the survival of some rare tropical plant, make sure the teen's parents know and it is a family you can trust.

20. You read in the newspaper that your credit card company had a security breach and many credit card numbers were stolen or inadvertently revealed to a third party. What would you do?

    A. Call the company to express your anger and disbelief.
    B. Do nothing. If you are affected, you are sure they will notify you.
    C. Call and cancel the card.
    D. Call your banks and credit card companies and ask for new account numbers.

Correct Answer: D. While canceling the card might be sufficient, if the breach allows the criminals access to all your personal information, it could reverberate throuh to other financial accounts.

Tune in next time for the official answers. In the meantime, here is the Score Card to help you get an indication of your ID IQ.

All 20 correct: Excellent. You’re doing everything correct to prevent identity theft. You are minimizing your risk of becoming its next victim. Although, with all your knowledge and preventative measures, you still can never completely prevent identity theft, you can help others learn what you know. I would like to have you on my team. Please contact me at with what you are doing. You may as well be paid for what you are doing.

15 to 19 right: Good. You seem to have a good grasp of what to do and are doing it, but there is still a need for improvement in a few area to minimize your risk of becoming the next victim.

10 to 16 right: You have plenty of room for improvement to improve your ID IQ and minimize your risk of becoming the next victim.

1 to 10 right: You are a prime candidate for disaster. Take steps to improve your ID IQ. Study what you believe are the correct answers. Compare them with the official answers I will report next time. Then you will be in a better position to come up with your plan to minimize your risk of becoming the next victim.

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Behavior Management Expert and Maximizing Your Potential Mentor™ Etienne A. Gibbs is a life-observing author, engaging talk show host, humorous speaker, and successful trainer who teaches small business owners, managers, and employees how to speak, think, and perform in ways that will help them shine. In the end, they maximize their critical thinking, speaking, and management skills.

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