Identity Theft

/Identity Theft

WebQuest: How To Protect that Credit (and Debit) Card!

I am always amazed when I am searching Google for interesting news stories about credit cards how frequently the articles detail how the “bad guys” manage to steal credit card information. Identity theft can seem like an adult problem to many teens (unless their parents or they have been personally victimized), so I thought this quick WebQuest might bring the topic home to them.  I thought it would be interesting to provide an update to my earlier 2015 post titled (apologies to Paul Simon) “50 Ways to Swipe Your Credit Card (or Debit Card) Number.”

So, here’s the assignment:

Question: What Are The Ten Most Popular Passwords?

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Before I answer, please let your students know if their password shows up below on this list, they better change it NOW!

Answer (from Consumerist):

By |January 19th, 2017|Current Events, Identity Theft, Question of the Day, Research|

Chart: How Is Card Fraud Committed In US Compared to Rest of the World?

From Federal Reserve Payment Study 2016:


Questions for your students:

Question: How Long Does It Take a Hacker To Steal Your Credit Card Information Online?

Answer (from Newcastle University research): About 6 seconds (yikes!) [This should grab your students attention!]

From Thrillist:

According to new a paper authored by Newcastle University researchers, hackers can mine your financial information using simple guesswork, spread out across multiple websites. When the process, known as a Distributed Guessing Attack, is coupled with a specifically designed toolkit, it isn’t very hard to exploit the security systems of major e-commerce sites…

Here’s a 31 second video explaining the technique:

Question: What’s the Difference Between Debit And Credit Cards?

Students are often confused about this distinction between debit and credit cards. Here are some resources that help show the ways in which they differ:

Question: What Is Fastest Growing Area for Credit Card Fraud?

Hint: Crooks have figured out ways to circumvent the chip cards.

Answer (from WSJ): “Card-not-present” fraud.

Interactive: Have You Been Hacked?

Answer: Yes, your personal information has likely been compromised.

With the recent news of the massive Yahoo breach (500 million people), NYTimes created this interactive so an individual can see how often they are likely to have been hacked and their personal information that is out there on the dark web. Your students will select the websites that they have accounts on and discover what personal information has been exposed to hackers.

Good reminder for students about the importance of 1) protecting your information 2) checking your credit report regularly to ensure no new accounts are being set up in your name (I prefer the freeze  myself).  The simulation includes some good tips on both of these points. Enjoy!

Here’s the graphic:

Looking At A Checking Account Through a Teen’s Eyes

One trap I am constantly trying to avoid in my work is what I would call the “specialist’s mindset.” It comes from studying a subject for a long period of time and manifests itself in several ways, including heavy use of jargon and terminology. Oh, and it also comes with a belief that everyone somehow has a similar level of knowledge about your specialized topic. This leaves the specialist wondering why you might get a quizzical look when discussing the merits of index investing compared to active management. It all seems so obvious, doesn’t it?

I had the gift of observing a “beginner’s mind” this weekend when I took my teenage daughter to sign up for her first checking account. She already had experience with a savings account but now it was time to move up to the big leagues. What I learned from this experience is how this one account ties together so many key financial concepts which can seem so overwhelming to a financial newbie. Let me explain.