In these current times, the threat of having your personal accounts, credits cards and even identity compromised is a sad reality. Fortunately, it has become so common that companies have come up with good methods at detecting fraud early. My parents have had to replace their credit cards more times than I can count, and I am catching up. I have gotten pretty familiar with what to do when my credit card number is compromised; the credit card company recognizes a charge on my card that I did not make, notifies me and replace the card. A few years ago when this happened, it would truly have disrupted my life, but nowadays it is so common that it barely registers.
Nevertheless, I recently was a victim of a different kind of identity fraud. Instead of the invader using my credit card to make a purchase, they gained access to my password to my credit card account, and because they knew my password, they were able to start changing my information from within my account, without the credit card company alerting the credit company of fraudulence. The only reason I became aware of it was that I received an email stating that I had changed my email in my account. Of course I hadn’t, so I contacted the credit company at once. The first customer service representative I spoke with was very helpful and went through the normal protocol. He reset my password to my account and issued me a new card, but then he transferred my over to the credit card company’s actual fraud protection division. That representative was much more intimidating. He informed me that since the invader was already in my account they had probably already changed other pieces of my information. I had to go through and verify every signal piece of my information. Sure enough, some other things had already been altered. The representative said that he would put my account on “high alert” status. Just that simple phrase made me uneasy and made me feel extremely vulnerable.
These experiences cause me to view my life in a different perspective. Basic information that I have taken for granted and claimed as my own, like my email, phone number, place of residence, are compromised, and I found myself literally fighting to prove that I am who I say I am. Identity theft has a great ability to make someone feel a loss of control, and rightfully so. In times like these, I normally would easily give in to anger. I would allow negative thoughts to plague me and take over my mind: “How dare this person change my information” and “what right does this person have to invade my privacy.” The truth is, they have every ability to take over my account and invade my privacy. The reality is that this is a fallen world, and evil is everywhere seeking to disrupt our lives. What defense do we have to combat it? Obviously, there is identity theft protection technology, but that can only go so far. While going through the process of checking all my accounts and making sure they all were secure, I found myself relying on something or Someone greater. I found strength in my faith that I am a child of God. That is my one true identity, and there is no password that I require to gain access to it — all I need is my Savior Jesus Christ. He holds the ultimate access to the greatest account there is, eternal life. It was thanks to this truth that I had the capacity to overcome my initial inclination to give in to anger. Once I gave it up to God, I had confidence that He would protect my identity. Not only was I able to release the anger, I was able to feel compassion for the person who invaded my account. In the name of Jesus Christ I prayed for them and forgave them. It is in these circumstances that I believe God is calling us to our true purpose. In this day and age, what is the best protection available when our identity is compromised? It is prayer, prayer for the people who are doing these things. They need help, and the best thing we can do is to forgive and pray for them.