Two years ago, I was hit with the one-two punch of two separate attempts by unrelated parties to steal my identity, including my personal information and banking information. Both failed thankfully, but I am writing this article to tell you some conventional ways and unconventional ways of fighting back against these increasing attacks in these times of social media and digital information.
Back in November of 2011, I was at a local gas station filling up, when I overheard the cashier talking with another customer about how our local bank had been the victim of fraud from a cyber-attack on information inside the banks computers. This is a small town, so I take everything with a grain of salt, but it was alarming. The clerk went on to say that some people had lost their entire retirement savings. I continued to listen as the conversation turned to assumptions and theories. After paying for my gas, I went down to the bank to check this information myself. Sure enough, it had happened. They were not sure on the extent of the information stolen, or how many customers’ information had been compromised, but that several people had lost significant amounts. The bank officials informed me that it had been reported and was being monitored by the proper authorities.
I never thought that being broke was a good thing, but I do in this particular instance. A week later, I got a notice that my information had been compromised, I was being issued a new card, and I had to destroy my old one and keep a close eye on my account. I did as I was instructed, but didn’t have much to worry about because I only had $70 in my checking account. Either the criminals took pity on me because I am poor, or they took one look at my credit and medical bills, and burned my information immediately. Still, the thought that someone has that information is unsettling, though.
Next, as you probably have learned from my other articles, I have some strong opinions on current events, matched with a social nature. This led me into trouble on Facebook. I was having a political discussion with friends; a debate is more accurate, when a relative stranger got involved in the conversation. This person was an acquaintance of a friend. Long story short, she was rabid, offensive, a far left-wing fringe nut, and was saying things that bordered on the criminal. We attempted to engage her in an adult manner, disagreeing with her, but not sinking to her level. Her comments devolved to a point where it was suggested by a few of us that perhaps we should contact the authorities. At this, she started to make threats, and said that she had downloaded our information. I just ignored her and proceeded to block her profile, then reported her actions to the proper authorities. I can move on now, right? Wrong.
Within a couple of days, I received requests for password changes to my Facebook, Yahoo, and other accounts that I did not request. I had trouble with my internet provider, and had problems with my tax return that I wrote about in another article called E-File Denial for Yahoo, the circumstances of which are still mysterious, and I have not been able to get a solid answer from the authorities on. They have mentioned a major theft ring that was caught that had stolen over 250,000 tax returns, but that the size of the situation is massive and they are busy.
I could not prove that the psycho from Facebook is the one that attempted to access my accounts or that she caused other problems, but I used unconventional means to fight back. She worked for a respected government industry that happens to be a conservative think tank, which I contacted about her threats and slanderous comments. I provided copies of her posts with her picture on it. I also re-posted this content to many people I know on Facebook, and their their friends. She was reported by other concerned parties, the Facebook police were notified, and she was blocked.
In further discussion with the group she worked for, I was informed by her superiors that she had been terminated from her position, and I got an apology. I have had similar trouble since, dealing with Facebook Gangsters and cowards, and while I will not be intimidated into silence on my opinions, in the past I have had to completely delete my Facebook and Yahoo accounts, transfer all of my emails and pertinent information to new ones, which took forever. I have lost some sleep over these situations, and lost a little more trust in society. It is a negative adjustment all around when something like this happens, but here is the good news.
If you are diligent enough when someone tries to do this, you have a suspect in mind, and you are clever, a lot of the time you can track these people down, and they will go to prison for their crimes. If not, to me, them stealing anything electronically, or tampering with my life, to me is the equivalent of them actually coming into my home and doing the same thing. I do not differentiate between the two. One way or the other, justice comes to people like this, so let your hearts not be troubled.
The message here is be careful, and you probably will not have trouble with Identity Theft, but sometimes, people get your information anyway. Don’t engage or encourage the crazies on Facebook, or anywhere else. They usually self-destruct on their own and hate more than anything to be ignored. If you are the victim of Identity Theft, be aggressive within the boundaries of the law in fighting back.
God Bless You.
Daniel P. O’Rourke
- How To Prevent Identity Theft and Protect Your Credit Score (creditrepair.com)
- Child Identity Theft: Warning Signs and Action (lexingtonlaw.com)
- Ten People Charged for Alleged Involvement in Washington DC Identity Theft Ring (news.softpedia.com)