What's your ID theft IQ?

By Jean Chatzky

How up-to-date are you on the latest protections for your identity? If the results of our quiz (which you can take here) are any indication, perhaps not as much as you should be.

"I thought I was pretty savvy about identity theft, but this short quiz reminded me that I need to make sure I keep up to date with the latest info," wrote one of the respondents.

That response was fairly common – and that’s a good thing.

The data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus last year were just the tip of the iceberg. In 2005, when the Identity Theft Resource Center began tracking data breaches, there were 157. In 2013, there were 619.

And according to a new report from Javelin Strategies, one out of every three of those millions of victims will be subject to some sort of fraud. Your credit or debit card might be used by someone who is not you (for which the card companies won’t hold you liable). Someone could use the information to apply for a job or a credit as you (which can be a huge mess to untangle). Even your tax refund could be fraudulently swiped. 

All told, it cost consumers $18 billion last year.

Over the last day, I had almost 1,400 people on my website jeanchatzky.com test their knowledge of personal financial security. The results were surprising:

  • 40% couldn’t point to the safest precaution you can (and perhaps should) take with your credit reports.
  • More than 60% of people didn’t know the first step to take if their identity was compromised or their credit cards hacked.
  • And only 10 percent understand which Americans are truly most vulnerable to identity theft.

So join us and take the quiz. Then tune into our 9 a.m. hour to see how your friends Al, Natalie, Willie and Tamron do as well.