Because of my experience as a junior-level hacker at Wonka.com, I’m well aware of the importance of choosing good answers to the security questions for any online account. Before you type in “Paris” the next time you’re asked your dream vacation destination, let me tell you about the dangers posed by easily guessable answers to security questions.

When I was a kid I stumbled on the (now defunct) Wonka candy website, where you could play games featuring the characters on their candy wrappers—Oh the Nerds candy characters running around with their little eyeballs and arms and legs! I don’t remember any of the games on the site, because I quickly made up my own after seeing that the way to recover a Wonka account after forgetting the password was answering one very easy security question correctly. The only defense between having fun in Wonkaland and an unauthorized person logging into your account was the question: What is your favorite color?

Little shit that I was, I’d pick usernames from the high score boards of the games (which I naturally sucked at) and type them into the login page and say I forgot the password. Next, all I had to do was type in random colors until I figured out what color HockeyDude17 loved more than anything and saw his password displayed on the screen. Just. Like. That. I wasn’t ever good enough at computer games to win a high score, but I found my satisfaction in changing these poor kids’ passwords so they could never log in and play again (unless they remembered that their favorite color was purple).

The double punch of doing something bad and seeing what stupid passwords kids used amused me for a few days. Think of the passwords that you use daily. Would you be embarrassed if someone saw them? I would, especially if it were something along the lines of toenailz42. Since HockeyDude17’s password was loserhaha, I thought, “Who’s the loser now!” as I changed it, about to confuse the hell out of this young hockey-loving soul. I did the same to soccer dudes. If a more powerful algorithm of me at that age were invented, it could probably kill childhood altogether.

But, dear reader, I was not the evil fun sucker that I am painting myself to be. Willy Wonka’s games were fun for a minute, but a child of my caliber needed more sophisticated entertainment. I wonder if the culprits of the Equifax breach thought the same thing.

Karma is probably lurking somewhere still waiting to sneak up on me like I did to HockeyDude17, so I take extra precaution when picking answers to my security questions. It’s hard because most of the questions don’t apply to me. I’m not married, so that eliminates all of the spouse questions. My favorites frequently change, so how will I remember what favorites what I typed in six months ago? I’ve never had a pet, so the “What was your first pet’s name?” questions need not apply. This also means that I don’t have a stripper name based on the Name of First Pet + Street You Grew Up On equation. Maybe I could just write “Dead” because when I was in preschool, I acquired a goldfish that I only had for a few hours before my mom thought it would be so cool and decorative to keep the fish bowl outside. For those about to add this to your Pinterest board: don’t. It was the middle of the summer and the fish died in the sweltering heat.

I likely won’t remember my smart-ass “Dead” answer when I need to change the preferences on my retirement account, and the story of my mom’s poor judgment is waaay too long to type into the little box. So I move on to other questions. I don’t advise choosing questions that someone could easily guess or find out by looking at your social media profiles. So, “What is your mother’s maiden name?” is out if you added extended family to the relatives section of your Facebook profile. So is “What is your favorite vacation destination?” because 1) I don’t have one and 2) Couldn’t someone just keep typing in answers like “Florida,” “Hawaii,” or “Paris” until they hit the jackpot? I’d prefer to use another smart-ass answer, like “Your Mom” or even “Ur Mom” to make it more difficult to guess. Other questions that are easy to guess with some light stalking: “What was your high school mascot?” and “What city were you born in?” or other variations of the “What city…?” question. I’ve lived in one place my entire life, so there’s only one city to guess.

In an effort to think of answers that you’ll never forget and aren’t easy to guess Family Feud style, I’d like to propose that banks and other institutions begin using questions such as the following:

• Who did you lose your virginity to?
• What was the code for bananas at the grocery store you worked at as a teen?
• Who was your least favorite teacher in elementary school?
• Why did you stop believing in Santa Claus?
• Why won’t Grandma ever look at you the same way again?

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