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BEACON Senior News

Think you can outsmart scammers? Take our quiz!

May 29, 2024 11:34AM ● By Mary Speer

Think you've got what it takes to outsmart scammers? Take our quiz to put your skills to the test! We aim to help you protect your personal and financial information. So, grab your favorite cup of coffee and a delicious donut and let's get started! 

1) Which of the following should never be disclosed to a stranger, especially someone who contacts you out of the blue?

A - Your passport number

B - Your Social Security number (full or partial)

C - Your bank account number

D - All of the above

2) Cyberthieves who attempt to steal your money or your personal identifying information can use technology to disguise which of these?

A - Their names and email addresses

B - Their phone numbers

C - Their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, which are numerical labels for devices on a computer network

D - All of the above

3) You got a phone call or voicemail from a collection agency claiming to be the IRS, stating that you owe back taxes. What do you do?

A - You know better than to mess with the government, so you do exactly what you’re told

B - You are conscientious about paying taxes, so you hang up or ignore the message

C - You call the IRS directly, using a number from a past tax form, not the number given to you by the caller

D - You call your accountant or lawyer and let them figure it out

4) You got a phone call or voicemail from someone claiming to be from the U.S. Marshals Service, alleging they have warrants for your arrest. What do you do?

A - You know you’ve done nothing wrong, so you hang up or ignore the message

B - You call the U.S. Marshal’s Service directly, using the number from their official website

C - You call your lawyer for assistance

D - You're frightened, and because it's the government, you comply with their instructions

5) The most common types of scams reported to FBI's Internet Complaint Center in 2023 were:

A - Romance frauds

B - Phishing scams

C - Lottery, sweepstakes or inheritance scams

D - Government impersonation scams

6) The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) examined fraud reports in 2023 and found that most often criminals first contacted victims by:

A - Calling them on the phone

B - Visiting them at their residence

C - Sending an email

D - Sending a letter in the mail

7) You receive an email or text message that claims you have won a sweepstakes or a gift card. To claim your prize, you simply click on a link, answer a few simple questions and/or send money to ensure receipt of the prize. What do you do?

A - You click on the link. You sure could use a gift card!

B - You delete it

C - You reply and give the sender a piece of your mind!

D - You send money because you need to spend money to make money 

8) Which payment methods do fraudsters often request from victims?

A - Bitcoin or another digital currency

B - Funds sent using a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app like Venmo or PayPal

C - Gift cards or reload cards

D - All of the above

9) It’s okay to provide personal or financial information if:

A - Someone calls you sounding professional and asks for it

B - A company you called on a trusted number needs to verify your details

C - You receive an email asking for confirmation

D - Your internet provider initiates contact with you

10) What are some common warning signs of a scam?

A - It’s a deal that appears too good to be true

B - You’ve been prompted to sign into a service to verify information or unlock an account

C - It’s a deal sponsored by your favorite celebrity that guarantees low-risk and high rewards

D - All of the above

11) Can you spot the phishing scam warning signs? Phishing scams trick people into giving out personal information like account details or passwords.

A - An SMS (text message) asking you to click a link

B - An email requesting you to open a link or attachment

C - A threatening call asking you to complete a confidential task

D - All of the above

12) Extra Credit: How can you help other seniors learn about scams?

A -  If you think someone is being scammed, talk to them about it 

B - Be a resource by telling others what you have learned 

C - Be supportive of someone who has been the victim of a scam. It’s common for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed

D - All of the above


1. Answer:  D

Protect personal data, known as personally identifiable information (PII), as it fuels financial fraud. Safeguard sensitive information like your date of birth, driver's license number, credit card details, PIN numbers and other PII.

2. Answer:  D
Cybercriminals employ tactics to mask their identity, often using technology to make phone numbers, email addresses and even IP addresses seem authentic. Always verify the legitimacy of such communications by contacting the organization directly using verified contact information. Avoid relying solely on internet searches for agency phone numbers, as these searches may yield counterfeit contact information.

3. Answer: B, C or D
This is NOT the government contacting you! Government agencies don't contact individuals in this manner. Be cautious and refrain from engaging with such calls or messages. 

4. Answer: A, B or C
Same as above—this is NOT the government contacting you! 

5. Answer: B
Phishing involves fraudulent emails from seemingly reputable sources in an attempt to get you to divulge your personal information. Variations of phishing include vishing (phone calls or voice messages), smishing (text messages) and pharming (redirecting to fake websites).

6. Answer:  C
Exercise caution with emails from unknown sources, as scammers often impersonate legitimate businesses or government entities. Email has become a primary tool for scammers, so be vigilant against suspicious messages.

7. Answer:  B
Beware of clicking links from unknown sources, as they could lead to malicious websites or phishing attempts. Even responding to a phone call opens the door to potential scams.

8. Answer:  D
Criminals use these payment methods because they’re difficult to trace.

9. Answer:  B
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Only disclose details when you’ve initiated the conversation with a trusted organization and if it’s necessary for verification purposes.

10. Answer:  D
Stay a step ahead of the scammers by being vigilant and informed. Exercise caution when receiving phone calls, emails or texts from purportedly reputable entities, and scrutinize requests for personal information.

11. Answer: D
Never click on any links in emails, SMS messages or online ads that ask you to register, sign in, update or confirm your personal or financial information. Remember that phishing happens over the phone too, so remain wary of unsolicited callers. Always type a website address manually or use trusted apps to securely sign in.

Extra Credit: Answer:  D

We’re all in this together. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311 or online:


REMEMBER these 3 essential strategies to avoid falling victim to scams:

Stop – Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if you are uncertain.

Think – Don’t click on links or respond to callers until you can confirm their legitimacy.

Protect – Act quickly. Call your bank to secure your accounts and seek assistance from and report scams to local law enforcement.

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