Identity Theft Protection

Target, Snapchat… Identity theft has been in the news a lot lately. Sure, you may have thought the movie Identity Thief was funny but in real life identity theft is a big headache.  It’s a problem that isn’t going away.  In fact, it’s only getting worse.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center 2013 saw a 30% increase in data breaches over 2012.  There were over 600 breaches exposing nearly 58 million records.  The FTC estimates identity theft happens every three seconds.  Scary stuff.

Until Target’s data breach late last year I hadn’t given much thought to protecting my identity.  I did all the common sense stuff everyone says you should do (create strong passwords, destroy sensitive documents before disposing them, avoid clicking on links in emails from people you don’t know, etc.) but that’s about as far as I had taken it.

Last night my wife and I got serious and made the decision to purchase identity theft insurance for our family.  We insure our home, our vehicles, our life… I guess our identity is the next logical step.  It really isn’t that expensive either.

We went with Zander Insurance and for less than $13 a month our entire family is covered.  That’s up to a million dollars in expense protection.  The thing I like most about the coverage is they handle all the work of restoring our credit if something were to happen.  Some reports I saw say that it takes 6 months and 200 hours of work to recover from identity theft.  Sounds like plenty of headaches, sleepless nights, and frustration that I don’t need.

This post isn’t meant to be a ringing endorsement or commercial for Zander Insurance.  There are plenty of resources out there.  Some that cost and some that are free.  Hopefully I have made you think about better protecting yourself from identity theft.

Take time to educate yourself.  Be vigilant.  At the very least get a free copy of your credit report.  A little time spent reviewing it now might save you a lot of time later.

What are you doing to protect your identity?

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Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew you could probably handle but doing it would be a little uncomfortable?  This happened to me yesterday.

There was a basketball tournament for 7th and 8th grade boys in our town.  It was a fundraiser for my daughters’ dance team and they needed volunteers to help.  No problem, I thought.  Take tickets, sell a few candy bars.  I could do that.

Unfortunately, those positions were filled.  What they really needed was someone to help referee or run the scoreboard.  Since my basketball knowledge and experience stopped in 8th grade reffing was out.  That left the scoreboard.  Something I figured I could handle, but still it made me nervous.  What if I messed up?  I’ve been to kid’s sporting events before and know how “intense” some parents can be.

I’m happy to say I made it through 3 games without messing things up.  I was fortunate to have some very knowledgeable  people who could help out when my brain couldn’t keep up with the action.   Thank goodness it was only middle schoolers playing.  Keeping up with a really fast paced game would have been tricky for me!

I’m glad I didn’t let my fear of messing up prevent me from helping out.  In the end everything turned out all right.

I met a nice grandfather of one of my daughter’s dance friends.  I showed my daughters that you should not be afraid to try new things even if they might make you uncomfortable.  And the tournament raised some money to help fund the dance efforts for my daughters and their friends.  It was a winning day!

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Week 1 Verse – Jeremiah 29:11

As part of my “Goals For 2014” I decided to choose a different Bible verse for each week.  Something to think about and pray on.  This week I went with Jeremiah 29:11.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This verse is an obvious choice.  At the beginning of the year we take stock of the previous one and prepare and plan for the new one.  It’s good to be reminded that God’s on our side and wants us to do well.

Here’s the same verse out of The Message, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”.

God has it all planned out!  I like that.  The control freak in me does better with a plan.  The thing I need to remember is that God has the plan but I am the one that has to implement that plan.  I need an open mind and heart to hear what he wants me to do and then the discipline to follow through.

Another thing I like about The Message version of this verse is the “not abandon” you part.  When God’s plan pushes me out of my comfort zone I need to stay strong in the belief that God is right there with me.  If he brings me to it, he’ll bring me through it.

The final reason I like The Message version is because it sounds like something I would say to my daughters.  Just like our Heavenly Father uses a verse like this to comfort us… as parents we’ve all said something similar to comfort our own children.  “It’s OK, sweetheart.  Daddy knows what he’s doing.  It’ll all work out.  You’ll see.”

I believe God’s plan for me in 2014 is to grow both personally and professionally.  His plan is underway and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

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