identity protection

Are you an identity theft victim waiting to happen? Take our quiz to find out

Identity theft can turn your life into a nightmare and thrust you into a long and complicated ordeal to clear your good name. Could you be putting yourself at risk for having your identity stolen without even realizing it? Take our quiz to find out your risk level for ID theft.

First Question

1. You carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

This is probably one of the easiest ways for your identity to be stolen. There are only a few rare situations when you really need your Social Security number: for tax purposes, credit applications or to verify eligibility for employment, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Keep your card in a safe place -- you don't need to have it with you on a daily basis. And, don’t write your Social Security number on a piece of paper and keep that in your wallet, either. Scammers might easily guess what the 9 digits mean.
Next Question

2. You often access your bank account using your smartphone, and you don’t use a password to secure your phone. Plus, at times you also take advantage of public Wi-Fi hot spots. There’s nothing better than free Wi-Fi, right?

Your behavior with your mobile phone has made you a prime target for identity thieves. If you don't have password protections in place and you lose your phone or it’s stolen, scammers will have easy access to your financial information. And the free public Wi-Fi that you love? Sometimes scammers set up those hot spots just to hack into users' phones and capture sensitive data. When you use a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network will be protected.
Next Question

3. You rarely look at your credit reports, and when you do, you don’t look closely.

Federal law entitles you to 1 free copy of each of your 3 credit reports each year, which can help alert you to fraud. It’s a smart idea to go through your reports diligently. Look for credit cards, accounts and other entries that are not yours.

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Next Question

4. You don’t shred your sensitive documents.

If sensitive paperwork showing your account numbers or identifying information ends up in the trash, it can be easy for dumpster-diving criminals to steal your identity. A home shredder is a great investment.
Next Question

5. You use the same password for all of your accounts, and you never change it. Why fix a good thing, right?

If identity thieves have your account username or email address, they can use technology that tries thousands of passwords to find the correct one. And then, they could see if that password works to unlock your other accounts. Use strong passwords and change them frequently. The Identity Theft Resource Center says strong passwords are over 8 characters in length and mix capital and lower-case letters and contain at least one numeric or non-alphabetical character.
Next Question

6. You’re a senior citizen.

It's unfortunate, but senior citizens are often more at risk of identity theft because they typically have less experience using technology, so they might not take the necessary steps to protect themselves online. Another reason thieves target senior citizens? They often have a higher net worth and more well-established credit histories than younger consumers.
Next Question

7. You make a lot of money, and you even consider yourself a bit famous.

Congratulations -- you've done well for yourself! However, high-profile and high-income people tend to have more credit and more accounts, and have sensitive information in various places. All of that can make you the perfect mark for an identity thief.
Next Question

8. You only skim emails and don't read the messages carefully before clicking on links or attachments.

One identity threat that continues to grow is phishing, in which a scammer sends out fraudulent, official-looking emails soliciting financial information, or gets users to click on links or attachments that contain viruses.
Next Question

9. You have an active presence on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes, you tend to over-share, and you have put your birthday and home address in your profiles.

By including personal information in your social media profiles, you’re giving scammers crucial keys to your identity that they could use to apply for a loan in your name. The Federal Trade Commission suggests never posting your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number or account numbers on publicly accessible websites.
Last Question

10. You routinely pay with plastic, and choose to swipe your credit and debit cards.

Using credit and debit cards instead of cash makes you vulnerable to a retailer data breach, which can ultimately lead to identity theft. Debit cards in particular don’t have as many fraud protections in place, making them riskier than credit cards. If you do prefer to pay with a debit card, choose a card with a chip and not a magnetic strip. Chip cards are safer because they are harder to duplicate.

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