Many people think of identity theft as a modern-day safety concern, but the first case of identity theft actually dates back to the Biblical days. In the book of Genesis, Jacob and Esau were twins, though they weren't completely identical. Jacob was jealous that their vision-impaired father favored Esau, so he disguised himself as his brother and requested blessings. Isaac, the twins' father, was skeptical at first, but as you may remember, he eventually fell for Jacob's scheme.
If a child can fool his own father, then identity thieves can certainly convince strangers they are someone else. And unfortunately, they often do. Each year, more than 16 million cases of identity theft are reported, and not all victims notify authorities. We've compiled four quick tips to help residents at The Gardens keep their identities safe.
When was the last time you changed the password for your email, voicemail or favorite websites? If you can't remember, then it's probably time to change all of them. Create new passwords at least once every few months, and make them unique by adding symbols or numbers. Never use easy-to-guess passwords, such as your spouse's name or your kids' birthdays.
If you receive any regular payments via a paper check, contact the distributor and ask if you can use direct deposit instead. This makes it harder for a stranger to steal your payments or view your personal information. You can even request digital statements from the bank so information is sent to your email address instead of through the mail.
When you receive an email or text with a website URL, don't automatically click the link. Type it in the search bar yourself so you can make sure the link takes you where it should. Some identity thieves, including phishers, send out fake URLs to unsuspecting email users. These URLs may appear harmless, but they're designed to capture your login information.
Many scammers pray on seniors via the phone. Avoid providing personal information, such as your Social Security number or checking account number, over the phone unless you initiated the phone call. Banks and government agencies typically do not make outbound calls requesting personal information. You are more likely to receive a letter with this request.
Don't be afraid to hang up on a caller who is rude or pushy when you decline to provide your personal information. If a caller seems suspicious, ask for their phone number so you can call them back directly.
John 10:10 warns us that thieves want to destroy our lives, but Jesus brings abundant life. Thwart thieves with the tips above, and remember that while scammers can create many problems on earth, nobody can steal the love God has for you.