your name could be sold for a $1, your social security number, insurance card
number, or driver's license number sold for $5, your credit card or bank account
number sold for $10, when do you decide what your good name is worth? And
can you afford it?
theft is a universal pandemic and no matter what measures we personally take to
be cautious, there is no guarantee that those we entrust with our personal
identification can be trusted to comply with every federal and state law,
putting our private credentials at risk to thieves, without our knowledge. As an
example, Texas State Attorney General, Greg Abbott, is cracking down on
non-compliant companies and charging them with huge fines, which don't include
civil damages these companies may incur. One area of investigation, San Antonio,
reports 85% of all small businesses in San Antonio are not in full compliance
there's the issue of whether you are one of those individuals who is
entrusted with other's personal information and do you know the extent of the
identity theft laws is this country? Would you risk your job if your supervisor
expected something of you which wasn't in compliance with these laws? What would
your name be worth then, if you were caught?
theft compliance is a two-way street; on a personal and professional level, for
which we must all take responsibility, including protecting ourselves from the
possible liability of mishandling someone else's identity.
personal level, there are numerous credit monitoring services, averaging $200 a
year, but these services do nothing with regard to your medical records, DMV
records, or social security records. There are just a handful of services that
provide monitoring of all your public records and these services also average
$200 annually. A couple of these services go so far as to monitor, protect, and
restore discrepancies with your identity, but because there are no guarantees,
can these services protect you any better than your own due diligence?
answer that, consider this:
- 1 in 7
people will have some form of their identity stolen.
average identity theft victim will spend over 600 hours and an average of
$1600 restoring their good name.
Ray Stern, a writer for the Phoenix New
Times, recently wrote an article, "Money
for Nothing - Don't fall victim to the identity-theft protection scam",
which he reports on the unethical and possible illegal behavior of an identity
theft restoration company's founder. Though this individual's misfortune had
nothing to do with the company's services, Stern reports, "Other companies offer
that service, as well, even though it's free and extremely simple for people to
do themselves. Dozens of firms offering anti-identity-theft services have built
a multimillion-dollar industry in the past few years.
advocates say they're a rip-off."
advocates? Based on what facts? Do you have 600 extra hours, $1600 extra dollars
to spend defending who you are? Of course it sounds like an oxymoron when
building a "multimillion-dollar industry" is something other than a response to
a need of such services.
In Part 2
of this article, the legal and liability dynamics of identity theft will be