3 Reasons You're Potentially a Sitting Duck for Identity Thieves
I've learned that the average American is more vulnerable to identity theft than they realize.
By Mike Roberts, Founder of MyHECM.com
January 23, 2023
Hi, my name is Mike Roberts and I'm the founder of MyHECM.com. I was stunned when I learned that my personal information had been posted to the dark web.
I'm always careful to protect my personal information, but that's not enough anymore. These days, it's not enough to just be careful about giving out a Social Security number. It's not enough to use encrypted email, VPNs, and complex passwords that you change every few months.
I've learned that even if you do all the right things to protect your personal information, you can still be compromised. Your identity can still be stolen.
If your identity is stolen, you could face a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive clean up process that could take years to complete.
Meanwhile, your credit is destroyed, which will make it harder (and more expensive) to get a mortgage, car loan, or credit card. It could be tougher to get a job, professional certification, security clearance, apartment, or even just cell phone service.
Identity theft can also result in stolen tax refunds, drained bank accounts, and legal headaches over fraudulent debts taken out in your name.
Folks, this isn't fearmongering. I've talked with people who have gone through it. It's not fun!
I've learned that most Americans are more vulnerable to identity theft than they realize. In fact, they're potentially sitting ducks for identity thieves. Here are three reasons why.
Reason #1 - Your personal information is stored on countless computers connected to the internet
Think about all the organizations you've worked for or have purchased products and services from in your lifetime. There's probably hundreds or thousands of them, right? Many of them store sensitive personal information on computers that are connected to the internet.
Your employers, healthcare providers, accountants, tax preparers, insurance companies, banks, lenders, payroll providers, and retirement account custodians store information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver's license numbers, account numbers, passwords, PINs, etc.
Credit repositories like Equifax, Transunion, and Experian store huge amounts of sensitive personal information. So do government agencies like the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, DMV, unemployment office, etc.
Your personal information is everywhere. There is no way that so much sensitive information stored on so many computers can be secure 100% of the time.
Reason #2 - Data breaches happen all the time
You're probably very careful about giving out your Social Security number, right? I am, too! It's important to be careful, but it's not enough these days. Even if you do everything right to protect your personal information, you can still be compromised by circumstances you can't control.
Government agencies and corporations spend billions on data security, but data breaches still happen all the time. Here are some recent examples:
- Uber reported a breach in late 2022 that exposed sensitive information on thousands of employees.
- Medibank, a large Australian health insurance company, reported a data breach in November 2022. Highly personal information for over 4 million customers was compromised. Yikes!
- In October 2022, Coastal Cardiology in Georgia reported a breach in a "legacy" (i.e., old) computer system that compromised sensitive patient information.
- A recent PayPal hack exposed the names and Social Security numbers of almost 35,000 customers.
These examples are just a drop in the bucket. I could dig up hundreds more.
All it takes to compromise your personal information is for one boneheaded employee at your bank or insurance company to fall for a phishing scam, forget a security setting, or send a sensitive fax to the wrong number.
This kind of stuff happens all the time. Over 147 million Americans were compromised in the infamous 2017 Equifax data breach. Over 15 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2021 alone.
You would never even think of posting your Social Security number on the internet, but it's possible that somebody else already has. I was stunned to discover my own personal information on the dark web. There's a good chance some of your personal information is there, too - which means it's ripe for the picking by identity thieves.
Reason #3 - You haven't protected yourself and your family from what you can't control
These days, it's not a matter of if, but when your personal information will be compromised. You can do all the right things to protect your personal information, but you can still be compromised by what you can't control: data breaches caused by the mistakes, negligence, and malfeasance of others.
Our personal information is everywhere. There's no way that so much sensitive information stored in so many places can stay 100% secure. Computer systems are complex, software has security holes, employees mess up, and hackers are constantly trying to break in.
No matter how well you protect it, your personal information can still be compromised in a data breach you have no control over.
These days, it's not enough to use VPNs, encrypted email, and complex passwords. It's not enough to be careful about who you give your Social Security number to.
Now, don't get me wrong, those are all good things to do. But if that's what you're relying on to protect yourself, you're potentially a sitting duck for identity thieves.
Protect yourself and your family from what you can't control
We all do our best to prevent house fires, car accidents, and catastrophic illnesses, but there's no way to prevent all catastrophes. That's why we get insurance, right? We want to protect against the financial consequences of what we can't control.
We can do everything right to protect ourselves from identity theft, but we can still become victims because of what we can't control. That's why it's a no-brainer to get identity theft protection, in my opinion.
Ten years ago, I discovered the identity theft solution that we still use today. Yes, we still get notices informing us of yet another data breach and that our personal information may have been compromised. I hate getting those notices, but at least I don't have to worry. I know my family is protected.
Before I go on, let me say something important: what I use to protect my family is great, but it has it's limitations. It can't guarantee you'll never be a victim of identity theft. Frankly, nothing can.
It's not possible to prevent all identity theft any more than it's possible to prevent all car accidents.
However, it is possible to significantly reduce the risk and consequences of identity theft. And if you do become a victim, it's even possible to hand the mess to somebody else and let them clean it up for you.
How cool is that? Would that ease your mind about the threat of identity theft? I know it did for me!
I strongly recommend that you protect yourself and your family from identity theft right away. It's not a matter of if, but when your personal information will be compromised. Here's who I use and personally recommend:
Zander Identity Theft Protection
Dave Ramsey-endorsed Zander Identity Theft Protection is the simple, effective, and reliable solution I've used to protect my family for over ten years now. Their customer service is great (they always answer the phone), their system is easy to use, and the protection they provide is excellent.
Comprehensive protection for the cost of a barebones credit monitoring service
Zander Identity Theft Protection is not just another credit monitoring service. It offers comprehensive protection for all types of identity theft, not just credit-related identity theft.
Even better, Zander will restore lost funds and clean up the mess if you become an identity theft victim.
In my opinion, Zander is a bargain. Here's what you get for the cost of many barebones credit monitoring services:
- Coverage for all types of ID theft
- Home title fraud coverage
- Unlimited recovery services
- $1,000,000 in coverage for stolen funds and expenses
- Personal information dark web monitoring
- Social Security number monitoring
- Change of address monitoring
- Data breach updates
- Lost wallet service
- 24/7/365 customer and recovery services
For a few bucks more per month, you can protect your entire family.
Zander also offers an Elite Bundle (which is what I have) for an additional (but very reasonable) cost that includes a VPN and antivirus for all of your devices.
In my opinion, it's a fantastic deal!
Don't be a sitting duck for identity thieves
Folks, I was stunned when I discovered that my own personal information was already on the dark web.
Remember, data breaches happen all the time. Your personal information may already be out there. It's not enough to just be careful about who you give your personal information to. If you're not protected, you're potentially a sitting duck for identity thieves.
Don't leave your family unprotected for another minute. Get protected now!
"I have personally used Dave Ramsey-endorsed Zander Identity Theft Protection to protect my family for over ten years now. Zander's service, prices, and protection are excellent."
P.S. Don't be a sitting duck for identity thieves a moment longer. Data breaches happen all the time. Will the next data breach compromise your personal information? Protect your family now!