Identity theft: By now most of us are aware of its destructive capabilities and potential long term impact on personal finances, credit scores, and good reputations. However, we typically overlook the growing ease with which it occurs, due to the stealthier methods afforded by advancing technology.
“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you” (Proverbs 2:11NIV).
This is a great verse, but in the context of identity theft, it may be one we’ve only applied to the surface. In other words, if you’re feeling protected simply because you’ve been keeping an eagle-eye on your personal affects, think again! In fact, the old fashioned method of purse or wallet snatching is now the least common way identity thieves make off with your sensitive information. We must therefore continue to recalibrate our best human efforts with God’s perfect wisdom in order to see the enemy tactics lurking below the surface.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), thieves are now highly sophisticated and rely on a variety of invisible sourcing methods to access our personal information, including:
- Dumpster Diving – Rummaging through trash for bills, documents and receipts.
- Skimming – Lifting credit card numbers when processed for payment using a special storage device.
- Phishing – Requesting or requiring the recipient to reveal personal information under the pretense of being a familiar company or financial institution by way of spam, pop-up messages or official sounding emails.
It’s quite a lot to guard against but creating an environment of awareness is a great first step. As part of the FTC’s ongoing awareness campaign, they have provided consumers with some basic guidelines to help lower their risk of identity theft.
Source: Crosswalk | Guy Hatcher, The Legacy Guy