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5 Things You Should Know – Part 163

Here are 5 things you should know.

1. You can replace your social security number card up to 3 times a year with a limit of 10 times in your lifetime.

This only applies to the United States. Source

2. The Equifax breach impacts you whether your identity was stolen or not.

It is safer to assume you are compromised and impacted by the breach. This is mostly for the U.S., Canada, and the UK.

The free credit monitoring service offered by Equifax is by TrustedId, which is a subsidiary of Equifax acquired in 2012 and the free service is only for good for one year. Some folks are unsure if it’s a good idea to use their services now it’s been a couple months since the breach. This could just be another way for them to earn revenue after the free credit monitoring service is up, people may feel the need to pay for their services. The free service offer expires Jan 31, 2018, so you do no harm by registering. A credit monitoring service like TrustedID is only good in helping you recover from identity theft which basically means these services do not prevent thieves from using your identity to open new lines of credit, and from damaging your good name for years to come in the process. The most you can hope for is that credit monitoring services will alert you soon after a thief does steal your identity.

If you are truly concerned, the best thing you can do is go for a security freeze on your credit (also known as credit freeze) not a security lock (important!) since it’s not the full credit freeze. The fee ranges from $0 to $15 per bureau, depending on what state you are in. It’s recommended to put a freeze at all four credit bureaus: EquifaxExperianTransUnion, and Innovis. Be sure to keep track of the login/password/security information you create when you go through the process; you need it if you want to unlock access if you apply for credit anywhere. If you want to be extra careful, check out the last two Q&A’s in security writer Brian Kreb’s post.

Another thing you need to do is periodically order a free copy of your credit report. By law, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus must provide a free copy of your credit report each year via a government-mandated site: annualcreditreport.com. The best way to take advantage of this right is to make a notation in your calendar to request a copy of your report every 120 days, to review the report and to report any inaccuracies or questionable entries when and if you spot them. Avoid other sites that offer free credit reports and then try to trick you into signing up for something else.

3. What to do if a nuclear bomb is about to go off near you. Very few people will be so close that they’re doomed no matter what.

The area of certain death is only 1% the size of the area where you might live or might die. Don’t submit to fatalism, take steps to prepare and you maximize your chance of survival.

If indoors: Fill bathtubs and any available bottles with water. Avoid windows. Check your phone for updates.

If in a car: Pullover completely, then go outside and see below.

If outside: Enter a building if possible. Avoid windows. If no buildings are available, lie facedown in a ditch or at the bottom of a slope. Do not seek shelter under or near cars. Check your phone for updates.

Phones won’t work near a nuclear explosion. However, if further from the blast, phones may still work and could tell you if the attack is over or still ongoing.

4. In order for the waitstaff to be eligible to receive your gratuity, it must be non-mandatory. Required gratuity or “service charges” often are (at least partially) kept by the house through a legal loophole.

Important to remember in order to not stiff the waitstaff and stay in their good graces. When a restaurant or any other venue with usually tipped employees requires a service charge (or just adds a 20% gratuity to your bill) they have no legal obligation to give this to the server. Oftentimes, they will say it is a “tip” but then keep it for the house. As per the IRS, a legal gratuity must be optional for an amount determined by you.

5. A majority of people experience “significant” or “extreme” tonic immobility during a sexual assault.

Rape survivors are often asked why they didn’t “fight back” or “resist”, and many survivors experience painful self-doubt when they ask themselves the same question.

As discussed in this https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sexual-assault-may-trigger-involuntary-paralysisScientific American article, studies suggest that many survivors experience some level of this phenomenon: ” [of] 300 women who visited the rape clinic, 70 percent experienced at least “significant” tonic immobility and 48 percent met the criteria for “extreme” tonic immobility during the rape.”

Why does this happen? It’s all part of what you probably learned is the “fight or flight” response. But it’s a little more complicated: “Typically, nonhuman animals are programmed to go through each of the states as the proximity of the danger escalates. The stages are arousal (alertness to possible danger); freezing (momentarily putting flight or fight on hold while assessing danger); “flight or fight”; tonic immobility; collapsed immobility (fainting in fear); and quiescent immobility (a subsequent state of rest that promotes healing). People who experience sexual assault may go through several of these stages, or skip straight to tonic immobility.”

How does that manifest? This Washington Post article https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/06/23/why-many-rape-victims-dont-fight-or-yell/?utm_term=.3726d9ab80f1 gives some explanation: “Some people describe feeling “like a rag doll” as the perpetrator did whatever he wanted. And thanks to rapid drops in heart rate and blood pressure, some become faint and may even pass out. Some describe feeling “sleepy.” Another, the more common reflexive response is dissociation: spacing out, feeling unreal, disconnected from the horrible emotions and sensations of such an intimate violation.”

All of these responses are involuntary and can be so confusing and upsetting for survivors trying to understand their own behavior. The WaPo article suggests male survivors might be especially vulnerable to this self-doubt, questioning not only whether a man can be raped (YES) but whether their passivity is unmanly. Survivors of all genders question whether they didn’t fight back because they secretly wanted the assault to happen.

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