Identity theft: 22 million records lost and they still want my girlfriend’s Social Security number

tsj column writers - identity theftBy Jim Eastin

When the news broke a few weeks ago about the United States’ HR department getting hacked, the number of files stolen started around 5 million individuals. As of this week that number is up to 21 and a half million families. As far as I can determine the only action taken is that one person has lost her job. To add insult to injury my girlfriend called this morning and told me that she was being required to give a private company her social security number and date of birth because of a government regulation. When she asked what the government regulation was the person on the phone did not know, but it was still required for her account to continue uninterrupted.

Why isn’t someone outraged about this?  They are. Unfortunately they are outraged one at a time and that does not create political change. Your information is not safe. It is not being protected, and you keep being required to give it to people who will not protect it.  We are at the mercy of untrustworthy people. When will this stop?  Only when enough people say, “No” that corporations start losing money over it. I asked my girlfriend if there was another provider for this special service she uses. She said there was and I advised her to switch and write a letter to the president of the company explaining why she did it. Will that do any good? Probably not. But what if half their customers did the same thing?  Would that get their attention? I think it might.

Dear reader, if you read this column because you are concerned about these issues you are part of a movement. It is an invisible movement. There is no national spokesperson, no cute mascot, no marketing strategy. The only power you have is the word “No.”  You have to use it whenever someone wants your personal information inappropriately. Will you win when you say “No?” Of course not. Will saying “No” protect you from Identity theft? Absolutely not. Will you be denied services when you say “No?” Undoubtedly. Then what is the point of doing it?  Here is the point. They are wrong and you are saying so. They are stealing from you and you are naming the crime. They have been unchallanged and you are challanging them. And sometimes, only some times someone will hear you and things will change. Sometimes the pressure of enough “Nos” can cause companies and governments to pay attention. But if you never try, you will never know.

If you have any feedback about this column, suggestions about a topic you would like me to discuss, or want me to come do a free identity theft seminar at your church or social club you can contact me at www.JimEastinLS.com

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