Protect Your Identity, Protect Yourself and Keep Your Sanity

I discovered recently – almost by accident – that someone is “out there” posing as me. I don’t mean to imply there’s a person out there dressing up to look like me (not a pleasant thought) and passing themselves off as my double. No, whoever it was; tapped into my personal information and used that knowledge to make charges on my credit card. Identity theft protection is my only recourse. That is, if it’s not already too late

My first stop was checking the Federal Trade Commission’s web site. The FTC spends quite a bit of its annual budget maintaining it’s website as a service to consumers. So naturally, I was curious to see how they could help me establish some sort of identity theft protection. The Site’s first bit of advice was to recommend that I contact the Fraud Department of any one of the nation’s top three consumer reporting companies. Fair enough I thought. So I clicked on the icon and Ba-da-Bing! I was being asked for my credit card number so I can purchase the credit report service that will protect me against consumer fraud! AAaak! So let me get this straight, in order for me to acquire identity theft protection, I need to give out the exact information that I feel was compromised in the first place! I could tell right away that identity theft prevention wasn’t as easy as it sounds, and i have to pay for it also!

Well, I figured at the very least I could register my complaint with the FTC. At least I can have that bit of satisfaction regarding identity theft protection. But sure enough, registering my complaint requires me to provide even more personal information! Everything from my street address to my home phone numbers. Who’s to say some hacker can’t tap into that information? I’m not paranoid, but I just don’t know who I can trust anymore!

And so it goes. In short order, I cancelled my credit card, contacted my bank, and within 15 minutes my personal life is on display. How is it, that in order for me to have identity theft protection I’m required to compromise my personal information security in more ways than I can count?

Nothing good can come of this. Of that I’m sure. I’m worried about everything now. I feel like a distant cousin of Woody Allen. I constantly look behind me because I think I’m being followed. Every time someone asks me a question I wonder why they need to know the information. So I decided to take identity theft prevention in my own hands: I just won’t leave my house, answer my phone or open any of my mail. That’ll teach any potential scam artist! I also signed up for a class in the Art of Self Defense. From now on, identity theft protection on my part will include a karate chop to the larynx and a kick in the shins.

The worse part about this is that I risk identity theft on a much larger scale. We’re talking about passports, ID cards, and social security card misuse. The list goes on and on. With all these potential threats to a person’s personal information, it’s no wonder homeland security has got everyone in a panic mode. The only thing I haven’t been advised to do yet regarding identity theft protection is to carry a handgun. But I’m sure that day is coming.

The Federal Trade Commission advises individuals to “fight back” when it comes to Identity theft. That includes identity theft credit and personal information. I’m not sure how you can really maximize your identity theft credit once your credit card has been used. I mean, you block your card and get a new one. And hopefully the entire process doesn’t start all over again. It’s enough to make your head spin.

The FTC is right: once your personal information has been compromised your life will never be the same again. Kind of like losing your virginity. But a lot more painful.

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