There is a saying - "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" Well, we have been fooled way too many times by the people and organizations we have entrusted to watch over the very things most important to each of us - our personal information.
"I'm tired of being afraid," said decorated veteran Bobby Joe Harris. "It's now clear to me that my information is going to end up in the hands of someone wanting to use it. I've come to expect that fact and I'm taking the precautions necessary to protect myself because I know no one else is going to do it."
So far this year federal agencies and the military have been responsible for more than 30 announced losses of personal information, affecting well over 50 million Americans. Can anyone really explain why multiple announcements have come from the same organizations and for the same reasons? One thing is for certain, the problems continue to grow.
The data loss of 26.5 million by the VA is well documented and the recent reports of teenagers arrested for the crime has provided some positive news. We were told the worst was over and this would not happen again because policies were changing. Then there's the news recently that another laptop was stolen containing more veteran personal information. While the crime is still under investigation, it is clear problems still exist and nothing can be done to fix all the holes in the dam.
"I trusted these people with the very things that make me who I am in this country, my personal information," said Earl Laurie, CPO, USN (ret.). "My life would be completely turned upside down if someone else gets their hands on my information and decides to use it. One thing is for sure, I won't believe the government the next time I hear them say the coast is clear and this won't happen again."
Congress is still struggling with what should be done about all the problems with lost information and the Bush administration scrapped plans to at least provide a service once it appeared that the stolen VA laptop was safe. Could I be that in the eyes of our nation's leaders, the trouble is not worth the trouble?
This news has forced individuals affected by losses to take matters into their own hands. "At first these stories about ID theft didn't worry me," added Laurie. "However two weeks after receiving a letter from the VA, someone tried to open two credit accounts as me. I was lucky, I'd just signed up for a service that promised to stop the crime before it happened and it worked like a charm. If the government wants to offer credit monitoring, that's fine, but I won?t take it. I have my answer already and its name is LifeLock."
"Our company was started because we knew that we could provide the tools necessary to prevent this crime," says Robert Maynard, co-founder of LifeLock, a former victim of Identity theft and a veteran himself. "We take the protection of personal information very seriously and there are many people willing to share their stories about how our system stopped them from becoming a victim. Our offer is extended to veterans, active military personnel and their families because of I know what they have invested for us, so the least we can do is remove this burden from them."
LifeLock is recognized nationally as the leader in ID theft prevention and has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CNBC, in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News and more than 150 more. For more information on LifeLock, go to www.lifelock.com. Veterans and military families can still enroll for LifeLock's service free for 90-days. After the initial 90-days, the service can be extended at a 25% discount. There is no obligation to extend the service beyond the first free 90-days.