Ultimate Fraud Prevention Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You might feel helpless against fraud and identity theft, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Take this quiz to see if you have what it takes to outfox the scammers.

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft is to check your credit scores regularly. What are the three major credit rating agencies?

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the ones you need to keep up with.

According to federal law, how many times can you check your credit report for free every year?

Everyone is entitled to one free credit check per year from each of the "Big Three."

What's the site you need to visit for your free annual credit report?

FreeCreditReport.com commercials are all over the airwaves, but a quick read of the fine print reveals that the reports, in fact, are not free. The government-mandated free credit report site is AnnualCreditReport.com.

According to a 2007 study by the Federal Trade Commission, what percentage of American adults had been fraud victims in the previous year?

The report revealed that 13.5 percent of the adult population -- 30.2 millon people -- had been victims of some kind of fraud.

What was the most common type of fraud mentioned in the study?

An estimated 4.8 million people bought fraudulent weight-loss products.

What was the most common method of pitching these scams?

Somewhat surprisingly, print advertising was the biggest culprit, at 27 percent. The Internet ran a close second with 22 percent.

What's check washing?

Sounds too obvious, but it's a common form of check fraud -- the stolen check is washed in a solvent, but your signature is kept intact with a piece of tape.

Who loses more money to Internet fraud?

According to the 2008 annual report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center, men lose $1.69 to Internet fraud for every dollar women lose.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, what percentage of identity-theft victims have been defrauded by their own family members?

You never know who you can trust. About 10 percent were victims of frauds perpetrated by a relative.

What are the chances that an identity thief will be caught?

It's only 1 in 700 -- a good reason that identity theft, according to the FTC, is the fastest-growing crime in the United States.

What percentage of fraud victims report their cases to the authorities?

Only 15 percent of victims actually tell the authorities. Wonder why so many scammers get away with it?

What are the two main factors that fraudsters seem to take into mind when selecting victims?

Age and education seem to be the main influences in the selection of fraud victims, with young, less educated people being targeted most.

The older you get, the _____ likely you become to report fraud.

Yet another reason that fraudsters are so successful -- by picking older victims, they can lessen their chances of being reported.

The average victim of the notorious Nigerian advance fee scam loses how much money?

It's hard to believe that anyone falls for these convoluted schemes -- in which victims are asked to provide bank account information in order to transfer money out of Nigeria -- but they do. According to a 2006 article in Wired magazine, victims lose an average of $5,000 in the process.

How do you know that the Web site you're visiting is secure?

The surefire way is to make sure that the URL starts with "shttp" or "https." You should also look for a little padlock icon in a corner of your browser.

When you're shopping online, it's more secure to use a debit card than a credit card.

Yes, it is sometimes scary to use a credit card online, but debit cards are no better. Plus, it's much harder to prove debit card fraud.

You shouldn't use real words as computer passwords, no matter how obscure they are.

Most people know not to use personal information for a password, but now it's dangerous to even use a word that's in the dictionary (in any language, even spelled backward). Strings of unrelated letters are best.

What's the hallmark of a phishing scam?

Phishing is a common Internet scam where fraudsters use legitimate-looking messages and pop-up ads to try to glean personal and financial information.

What is NOT a foolproof way to figure out if an offer is a scam?

Asking for a call-back number could work in some situations, but most sophisticated scammers will have cohorts answering your calls at the number they provide.

According to Fannie Mae, this region is a hotbed for mortgage fraud.

In 2008 and 2009, 32 percent of all mortgage fraud in the United States originated in the Southeast.

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