The first decade of the new millennium is almost over, another year has passed and by my estimates identity theft as we know it is not getting any better, it is getting worse. I’m a big believer in the fundamentals and some things just can’t be said any other way, and to remind you I’m taking a page from a post from an entire year ago because it is absolutely essential that you – the public, corporations, associations and government agencies, all take responsibility and do what is necessary to protect yourself, your clients and your constituents.
Identity theft isn’t going away any time soon and therefore it is essential that you consume as much information to educate yourself, inform others and prevent identity theft from happening under your watch. Like any problem that we may face in life, we do our best to find a speedy and efficient solution. However identity theft is one of those problems that acts like a 10 headed monster that we keep chopping the head off but it keeps growing a new head, a new leg and a new arm.
Because we are a persistent and resilient people, and we never ever give up, we will prevail. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has created National Protect Your Identity Week from October 17-23 to create awareness and provide information. The solution requires a coordinated effort between every single citizen, company and government official to see the big picture and to do what’s right and put the necessary systems in place that prevent the bad guy from doing his job. The solutions are near. Some of them are already in place. It’s just a matter of everyone getting on the same page and coming to an agreement.
Understand there has always been, and will always be a criminal element looking to take from those who have. The bad guy (and gal) persistently looks for their next victim all day, every day. Your job is to become informed and know what it means to become a tougher target. And in the meantime those who are responsible on a higher level to protect us, and our critical infrastructures, methods of commerce, and ways in which we identify ourselves will continue to work on the big stuff. But they need you to be aware and alert and actively participate in the process. We are all in this together.
The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security are hiring thousands of computer experts to protect our networks. But the weakest link in the chain is not the government, but the citizens. Government has lots of work to do, but moms and pops are the most vulnerable. Enterprise networks have become hardened, while small business and the lowly consumer know enough about information security to get hacked. Awareness is key. You are either part of the problem or the solution.
Read this and every possible blog, article and report you have access to so you can stay on top of what is new and ahead of what is next in technology and the security necessary to keep it safe. Build your IT security vocabulary. Become an expert in identity theft and information security. Be the go-to-person in your home or organization who has all the answers to the problem.
A number of national organizations are also putting their weight behind this initiative, joining the NFCC and BBB as Supporting PYIW Coalition Members. This Coalition includes: American Bankers Association Education Foundation, American Financial Services Association Education Foundation, American Payroll Association, Consumer Action, Consumer Data Industry Association, Consumer Federation of America, Credit Union National Association, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, FICO, Foundation for Financial Planning, Identity Theft Assistance Center, Identity Theft Resource Center, Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, National Association of Triads, National Council of La Raza, National Crime Prevention Council, National Education Association Member Benefits, National Sheriffs’ Association, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Social Security Administration.