As human beings, we value our uniqueness. No one out there wants to feel that they are a carbon copy of anyone else. Your identity is your world, it’s who you think you are, and how the world sees you, all rolled into one. We tend to be quite proud of our identities; this being evident when you introduce yourself. “I am Jack, a pleasure to meet you.” What happens when Jack, meets another Jack? The first reaction is amusement, but later on, if these two “Jacks” remain in the same workspace for example; will start to feel devalued by the fact that their names are no longer unique. Someone calling out Jack! Doesn’t mean they are identifying you. This introspective thought shows us quite clearly that having a shared identity doesn’t sit well with us.
What about Identity protection? If we are so very fond of being uniquely us, do you even think about what it would mean to have someone share or even steal our precious identities? That’s something that many of us don’t think enough about.
Why Identity protection is criticalIdentity protection is necessary not for the reasons of protecting against self-devaluation or vanity, but of privacy and safety. Without your identity, you are nothing; having someone share your identity means having someone take your life anyway from you. Imagine trying to log into your bank account online and having little red alerts going off telling you that you have been blocked due to suspicious activity? Imagine trying to prove that the shopping spree listed on your monthly credit card statements wasn’t you? And that someone else has in fact stolen your private details and has left you footing the bill? Can you prove it? If you didn’t pay attention and alert the bank you’re your details have been stolen, proving fraud would be a little harder than you’d think.
Identity protection tipsShared identity is no joke, having severe and someone permanent implications. With this in mind, stop and think before you hand out any sort of private information to anyone. This goes for companies, (from grocery stores to bonus card clubs), social media, or online groups, cyber friends or even neighbors.
Shredding Vs. Ripping: Most of us just rip up old bank statements or bills, and throw them away in our garbage without a second thought. Even at the office, I write bank accounts and contact details down on paper and toss it in the bin. But that doesn’t stop identity thieves from going through the trash and putting the pieces back together again! Within a few minutes, they can have access to your name, address, bank account numbers and cash amounts. Thankfully there is an easy way to fix this issue: purchase a shredder. They sell for the same cost as an economy home printer would, and they are vital in keeping your private information safe.
Online safetyNever think that you are scot free while surfing anonymously online. Social media and their strict rules were created to take the anonymity out of cyber surfing. Most of us are a part of at least 3 social media groups, and at least 1 professional business and employment networking site, which means we already have a lot of personal information ready and available for anyone to use. Downloading a security app for all of your devices could save you from problems. Periodically hiring an identity protection company to scan through analytics engines, which search for potentially stolen private information online could help you cut short a cyber criminal's career.
My advice is always to think of your safety and the safety of your family first. Protect yourself with the tools that are available to you; because there is always someone out there with their own set of instruments to be used against you. After all, “The best offense, is a good defense.”