This Week: Here’s the letter that shows China hacked my personal info… Why I’m not worried about it… Steps you can take to protect yourself… Lots of comments about me getting “zapped”, including calling me a crybaby.
About two weeks ago, I got a call from a friend of mine who also happens to be ex-CIA. When I picked up the phone he said, “Did you get the letter from OPM?”
Not knowing what he was talking about I told him no. He reminded me of the huge data breach that occurred months ago when the Chinese stole the background information of government workers who had security clearances.
I did remember this incident but never got a letter in the mail so I forgot about it since I thought I was safe. I told my friend that I didn’t get the letter and that it stinks to be him and he better put some measures in place to protect himself.
Of course, I spoke too soon and a few days later I got a letter from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM.) A snippet of the letter is below. (Click on the letter to see a larger version.)
I called my friend back to let him know I got the letter and he had these encouraging words…
“If you traveled to any foreign countries in true name or in alias while you were an officer then that Country – if you went back – could pick you up while you’re overseas and hold you for espionage based on previous travels and activities that they suspect you committed.
We already know that the Chinese have sold those lists of information to several other countries such as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria etc. etc.”
Although my personal information is now in the hands of lots of “bad guys” I’m really not that worried about it. I know that may be surprising to hear but it’s because of the following reasons:
I don’t plan to travel to places with unfriendly governments where I could get myself in trouble… no Christmas vacation to North Korea this year.
I have a credit freeze on my credit report. This means nobody can access my credit to take out a car loan or mortgage or anything like that. If you do not have a credit freeze on your report do it this week. (When I am training 100 students and I ask them who has a credit freeze only about five hands go up… Please do this ASAP.)
I carry an Identity Protection card in my wallet. This protects people from hacking my credit cards. (If you don’t have one of these I am giving them away for free right now. (Click here to get your FREE ID Protection Card.)
Even though the Chinese have a lot of my info, I make sure people can’t get anymore by shredding everything. I only use a crosscut shredder. (Do not use a shredder that cuts the paper into strips as these can be put back together.)
I spend 10 minutes at the end of each month reviewing my bank statements and credit card statements. It’s not exactly the most fun thing in the world, but it allows me to see if there are any fraudulent charges.
Hopefully, your personal information isn’t being sold around the world by the Chinese like mine is, but you can still take the steps above to better protect your identity in the coming year, and during this Christmas season when people are using their credit cards often and will have lots of purchases on their statements.
From Lewis R: After viewing your stun gun demo I realize some folks will do just about anything to get a few laughs.
A: I definitely wasn’t doing it for laughs, believe me. I was proving how effective the stun gun flashlight is against an attacker.
From John D: I think you’re setting a bad precedent letting your wife zap you. She’ll be packing one of those to church… when you’re dozing off, she’ll just give you a little zap to get your attention! Merry Christmas.
A: After my wife shocked me, I told her it was my turn to try it on her. She was not amused.
From C.R.: Stop being a crybaby, getting tased is fun…
A: You just let me know when you’re ready to have me “tase” you with the stun gun flashlight and we’ll see how much fun you have. (Click here if you want to get the Stun Gun Flashlight.)
From Matt W: I’ve listened to the audio book twice, and as a former police officer I can vouch for the information in the book. It is completely true and will save your life as it has mine on occasion. I recommend this book to everyone.
A: Thank you, your comments are much appreciated. But more importantly, thank you for your service as a police officer.
From Roy S: I read your book. I enjoyed it because you confirmed what I am doing. I live in Florida and have a concealed weapons permit. I like Glock’s because they never jam. I pray that I will never have to take another human’s life. It is a violent world… We must stand united. I appreciate your effort for our defense.
A: You and me both pray that we never have to take a person’s life. But if the time comes, I’m glad to hear that you and I will be prepared.