Last Thursday, I got a call from my wife saying, “Did you hear what happened to Tim?”
Tim happens to be a relative of mine who is currently going through a nightmare identity theft. Tim is the manager of a retail store and recently had to fire one of his assistant managers who was stealing from the company.
Before this assistant manager left he was able to access the company’s main computer and steal all of Tim’s personal information, including his SS#, home address, and even banking information.
This disgruntled ex-manager even changed Tim’s direct deposit so Tim’s paychecks started going into a bank account that belonged to the ex-manager. He started calling the utility companies for Tim’s house and getting the utilities shut off because he had all of the identifying information that a utility company would ask for.
Tim obviously called the police (not that they’ll do much) but almost every day he finds out this psycho ex-manger has tried to open a credit card under his name or applied for some type of credit.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long road for Tim and he’ll be spending a lot of time on the phone and he may have to go as far as getting a new social security number.
I don’t wish this nightmare and hassle on anyone, which is why I want to share a few simple and easy tips I use to protect yourself from identity theft.
Five Steps To Protect Against Identity Theft
First, get a cross-cut shredder for shredding mail that contains your personal information. Do not get a cheap shredder that just shreds the thin rows of paper because there are machines that can easily put those back together to make the document readable.
Second, put a credit freeze on your credit reports (also called a security freeze). This is one of the best ways to protect your identity and it’s easy to do and doesn’t cost much at all. This is better than any of those programs out there such as Life Lock and similar services. I’ve had a credit freeze now for about 15 years.
Third, get an Identity Protection Card. You can get one from me for free right here. The Identity Protection Card keeps thieves from hacking your credit information using RFID technology. (The link above contains a video that shows you how they hack your credit card info.)
Fourth, when you’re on a computer or other Internet enabled device make sure you’re using a Virtual Private Network (VPN.) A VPN encrypts your data making Internet surfing safe. In other words, when you’re on the free wifi at Starbucks it’s easy for thieves to commit identity theft if you’re not using a VPN.
Fifth, only use “real” bank ATM machines. This means only use ATMs from banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Don’t use the private label ATM that’s sitting in a gas station or the hotel lobby. Those ATMs have less security and a criminal is more likely to target those to put a skimming device in to steal your credit card info.
Unfortunately, identity theft is not going away anytime soon because it’s such a lucrative crime for thieves. But, if you take the five actions above you’ll be doing more than the majority of Americans and will be making yourself a much harder target and less likely to have your identity stolen.
From Eric T: I just want to say that I own several different tactical pens and these are the BEST that I have ever seen. I have replaced the one that I usually carry everyday with one from you.
A: I 100% agree with you. I’ve tested numerous tactical pens as well and this is the best one, which is why I carry it daily. (Click here to get this Tactical Pen.)
From Ozzie L: Excellent tips on “How to Deal w the Police.” I found an app for your phone named Bambuser (http://bambuser.com/) for those that are inclined to record those encounters. Keep up the excellent job!
A: Thank you for passing this along. I’m not familiar with this app but will definitely check it out.
From Jacqueline A: Mobile Justice CA, an easy way to record and report interactions with law enforcement. All footage and reports submitted through this app will be sent immediately to your local ACLU affiliate. The app allows users to record law enforcement, alert other users to nearby law enforcement encounters, and to submit videos and incidents to the ACLU. www.mobilejusticeca.org Not available for all states just yet.
A: I will have to check this one out too. How lucky are we to live in a time with such incredible technology?
From Eric W: I have a question on training on hand to hand combat. For the purpose of protecting my loved ones I want to further my ability to use my body as a weapon. My problem is that I live in rural MT and the closest place to train for anything is over 2 hours away! How do you feel on instructional DVDs? If so do you have any recommendations?
A: I would check out my Two-Second Survival videos, which you can get here. I would also recommend Krav Maga DVDs. (You can still learn a great deal from videos since you can’t travel to a local facility.)
From Daniel T: I have surmised that a .22 pistol would probably be the best weapon to learn on, because the weapon and the ammunition are comparatively inexpensive. I am wondering if it would be best to rent a .22 pistol from the range for the first few times before buying one of my own, and if you have any recommendations on the best .22 pistols for beginning.
A: A .22 is a great pistol for learning the fundamentals. My favorite .22 is the Ruger Mark III. The Browning Buckmark is another good one. I would definitely rent these and see which one you prefer. Then sign up for some local NRA pistol courses and other local firearms courses to get properly trained.