What Does Your Identity Have to Be Thankful For?

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Is your identity grateful for all that you do for it? It should be. After all, you monitor your credit reports regularly for suspicious activity, you update your computer’s settings to thwart the latest viruses and hacking attempts, you hold back on social media to avoid oversharing, you talk to your kids all the time about staying safe online… the list goes on. Right?

Unfortunately, most of us have to admit that we’re not doing all that we should to protect our sensitive data. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some easy things to be grateful for that will help safeguard your information.

  1. Protect your tech – Our current climate of privacy awareness means that a lot of tech companies are releasing great products that are designed to give us a convenient way to protect ourselves. Whether it’s using a VPN, passcode protecting your mobile device, setting up a portable personal hotspot, or keeping your antivirus software up to date, there’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the technology we use every day. The only catch is that it doesn’t work if you don’t use it. Show your gratitude to the designers behind these great innovations by making their efforts a part of your regular connectivity habits.
  2. Keeping up with the law – Once upon a time, crimes like identity theft, cyberbullying and sextortion, and even data breaches were puzzling to law enforcement because they were whole new categories of crime that happened without any kind of face-to-face or physical interaction. After all, how do you prosecute a faceless stranger sitting behind a computer screen when he’s halfway around the world? Fortunately, policymakers and law enforcement officials have worked diligently to keep up with the criminals and now have a better grasp of what to do for you if you’re ever the victim of this kind of crime.
  3. Advocates who are there for you – Perhaps the most under-appreciated but vitally important group to be thankful for is the advocates who work for victims of crime. Their job is often a thankless one, but this November you can change that by spreading the word about the important work that all victims’ advocates do, especially those who are prepared to help you in an identity theft crime. These advocates from groups like the Identity Theft Resource Center, Privacy Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, and several other sources not only stand ready to give you clear information and advice if your identity is stolen, but they also help enact change with policymakers to protect your rights before the crime ever occurs.

Of course, the most important person your identity has to be grateful for is you. After all, it’s largely your online and real-world behaviors that keep a thief at bay. Whether it’s protecting your online accounts, securing your bank and credit card accounts, or preventing a criminal from learning too much about you by safeguarding your person identifiable information, a lot of the effort that goes into protecting your identity can be chalked up to your own actions. So be sure to thank yourself this month for all that you’re doing to stay safe and secure your identity.

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Eva Velasquez

Eva Velasquez is the President/CEO at the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization which serves victims of identity theft. Velasquez previously served as the Vice President of Operations for the San Diego Better Business Bureau and spent 21 years at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. Eva has a passion for consumer protection and privacy issues and is constantly striving to educate the public about these important topics. She is recognized as a nationwide expert on identity theft and has recently been featured on the Ricki Lake show and MORE magazine, as well as numerous other outlets.