Be the first responder of protecting your ID
Don't be the one regretting after you have your identity stolen. Start preventing and protecting your ID and be sure to be careful with online accounts especially when you are using public electronic devices. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Lee, Hyokang)

YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic Of Korea -- The world has changed and it is easier than ever to reach friends online, and many electronic devices offer conveniences, including online shopping, banking, and social networking. They are convenient if and only if the right people use it.

"The age of privacy is over," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Personal information is being exposed to others easily nowadays. However, many people don't realize how important it is to keep their information secured and in fact, many are potentially putting themselves at risk of being targets of identity theft.

Some mistakes and indifference of people cause wrong people to take advantage of them. They include forgetting about numerous online accounts and resulting in passwords not being changed regularly. Sometimes, we even find some public computers logged on with Facebook account of previous user.

Luther Israel, antiterrorism officer for USAG Yongsan's Directorate of Plans, Trainings, Mobility, and Security, emphasized how important it is to focus more on personal security than enjoying the convenience, to prevent risk of having one's personal identity stolen.

"Once your identity has been stolen, it may take years before your name is completely cleared and could cost thousands of dollars in legal fees or charges," Israel said. "Worse yet, a valid ID card or Common Access Card (CAC) in the hands of the wrong person could directly lead to the death of U.S. Service members, family members and civilians working and living on the installation."

Prevention is the best protection. There are many ways to prevent identity theft and Israel gave tips to safeguard personal information, encouraging people to prevent their identities as he gave tips to safeguard personal information.

"Always keep your ID or CAC on your person, or keep it in a secure location," he said. "If you live in the barracks, lock your door, whether you are inside or just going downstairs to wash clothes. If you go to work out at the gym, do not leave it in a day locker. Invest in a plastic holder with a lanyard and hang it around your neck. Never give your ID card to someone for the purpose of making a copy, which is illegal and dangerous."

As the rate of identity theft rises and the method being more diverse and crafty, there are ID protection services available from many private companies to prevent catastrophic consequences. However, people themselves should be the first responders of taking care of their ID.

The following are a few useful websites to prevent ID theft:

For more information and tips about preventing identity theft, visit http://www.consumer.gov/, http://www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm, and http://www.bbbonline.org/idtheft/.

Page last updated Tue February 12th, 2013 at 00:00