“Every two seconds, another American becomes a victim of identity fraud” (CNN Money). According to a recent study done by Javelin Strategy and Research there was a 500,000 increase in the number of identity fraud victims from 2012 to 2013 placing the number of incidents in 2013 at 13.1 million a year.
Whether the activity is happening through passwords, bank accounts, or a data breach, protecting your identity should not be ignored.
Here are 5 key ways that CNN Money has offered to make you aware of how thieves are targeting you.
Establishing fake Wi-Fi networks: Free public Wi-Fi access such as libraries and hotels are a breeding ground for identity thieves allowing them to establish a false network with the same name of the one being offered.
Posing as Census workers: Walking by foot door-to-door, some thieves pretend to be taking a pole asking people for personal information. Don’t fall into their trap.
Mining social media profiles: A simple adjustment in your privacy settings on your social media account can help eliminate you as an easy access to predators.
Advertising bogus discounts: Old-fashioned phone advertising is still around with a cyber twist. Identity thieves are hoping to get you to buy into their “you can’t refuse this” offer getting you to give out your personal information.
Buying bank account information: Yes, for just the right price, your bank account information may be sold to the highest bidder opening up the door to accessing not only our bank account, but potentially your credit cards.
Although the above information is highly pertinent, I would argue that there is an even greater concern that needs our immediate attention. I believe a data breach has taken place within our hearts and that our identity in Creator God has been stolen by the world. Instead of knowing who we are in Christ Jesus, we have been victimized by the world through what we do, how we look, whom we know, and what we have done.
Here are 5 ways in which the world has breached our hearts turning us farther away from our true identity in Christ Jesus and how we can protect ourselves and turn back to who we are called to be.
Establishing fake networks: Setting up the wrong network of people can cause us to make compromising choices affecting everything and everyone around us. By staying in God’s word and establishing networks of accountability with other Christians, we are setting in place a firewall of protection to help us secure who we are in Him. The purest network we can have is between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Collecting False Information: We live in a world of naivety where anything found online can make us believe it is accurate and true causing us to not question what we find. However, there is one source that has been proven to be true to the core. “The Bible has proven to be more historically and archaeologically accurate than any other ancient book. It has been subjected to the minutest scientific textual analysis possible to humanity and has been proven to be authentic in every way” (Institute Creation Research).
Mining social media profiles: Social Networks are a great way to make international connections, but on the flip side, when we don’t set our privacy settings, we become vulnerable to all kinds of fraudulent activity. God has called us to establish a social connection with Him where we can freely converse and understand the plans He has for us.
Advertising bogus discounts: Do you advertise yourself as less than what you really are? The world judges us on our beauty, relationships, actions, and our past. If we look in the mirror based on the glasses of the world, we may see someone who is weak, ugly, and stupid, but God sees us as beautiful, strong, and intelligent. It is only when we look through the lens of God that we are able to see whom He desires us to be.
Buying bank account information: Have you become sold out on the world’s possessions? Our status in the world rests on how much we own. Those who have the most stuff wins in the end, right? Wrong. When we invest in the possessions of the world, the dividends are temporary, but when we invest our wealth in Kingdom business, the outcome is eternal.
Our hearts have become victims of identity theft through our own choices to listen to what the world desires us to do. The data of our hearts has been breached by Satan’s lies, the Prince of this dark world. If we find value in protecting our material possessions, isn’t it time we set in place a hedge of protection on our eternal rewards?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)