I’d like to see the next security survey include a follow-up question to the ‘are you afraid of identity theft’ question. Something along the lines of: ‘do you know what identity theft is and how you can protect yourself?’

I’m not trying to belittle the issue of identity theft. But my own experience is that most people simply repeat the phrase because they’ve heard it so many times on TV and the radio. They don’t understand it and therefore they don’t take even the most basic of precautions to protect themselves.

It’s kind of like the idea of ‘panic rooms’. After the release of the Jodie Foster film (2002), it was all the rage to talk about ‘safe rooms’ and all sorts of new fangled security systems. But do you know anyone who actually did anything to increase the security of his or her home? Lots of talk and no action!

With identity theft, the situation is worse because identity theft is something that can impact each and every one of us. If you have a social security number (in the US, or the national ID in other countries), or credit card, or a bank account, or utility bills you are at risk. Each one of us who is living in modern society is a potential target.

Make sure you protect your personal data. As far as computer usage is concerned, at the very least make sure that your computer software is up to date, including security patches. Make sure you have the basic security programs installed and running: anti-virus software, firewall, anti-spam, and a password manager. With email: don’t open it or click on it unless you KNOW who sent it! Be jealous of your privacy!

Do you know what identity theft is? How are you protecting yourself?

What would your answers be?

Peter L