Last week, while I was working in Savannah, one of my work credit cards was being used in stores across Virginia. Kudos to the bank for recognizing and moving on the issue almost immediately and for offering fraud notifications via text and email.
This experience reminded me of the days – about ten years ago – when I was leading strategic communications for the launch of the Liberty Identity Theft Prevention Group, the world’s first collaborative initiative formed specifically to address the fast-growing identity theft problem.
The group’s initial meeting was held in Chicago where representatives from the FBI, top-tier industry analyst firms, law enforcement, government groups, legal communities and enterprise technology and policy experts gathered to discuss potential action plans for addressing a wide range of identity theft issues.
While it seems to be a bit of a cliche today, the somewhat frightening message of “it’s only a matter of time before you or someone you know becomes a victim of identity theft” was one of the messages repeated over and over again at that meeting.
I’ve pretty much lived and worked with that message in mind ever since that meeting took place by implementing strategies ranging from paid monitoring of social security number activity and better home and office shredding policies, to using best practices for conducting online transactions and managing passwords and PINs.
After witnessing firsthand how easy it was for someone to use my credit card, I’m now taking a few extra steps to protect my information by working to ensure the organizations I do business with have implemented top-notch security policies and by being even more vigilant about monitoring account activities on a regular basis.
This year, along with sending family, friends and current and former clients and colleagues best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season, I’m also sending a reminder to be extra careful about guarding against identity theft.
Taking a few steps now to beef up account security can go a long way in protecting yourself and your family against fraud during the holiday shopping season and all year long. – Russ DeVeau