Recently there has been news coverage about a security breach at Equifax. 143 million people may have had some of their personal information stolen, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, and passwords.
I have experienced “identity theft” twice. It isn’t fun. It also isn’t surprising, because my social security number is everywhere. It exists in databases and files with every credit bureau, mortgage company, credit card company, medical practice, insurance company and employer that I’ve interacted with.
If you don’t have my social security number, you aren’t trying hard enough. Everyone else already has it.
Many years ago, my wife and I were at a shopping mall doing some holiday shopping. When we left the mall, we walked back to our car in the parking lot. I pulled out my keys, and went to unlock the car, but the car was not there anymore.
It was stolen.
A few months ago, I published my first book (“Can Openers: Essays About Life and Love”). I’m donating all of the proceeds from the sale of my book to Philadelphia-area charities. I’ve made donations already to TE Care and Broad Street Ministry.
About a week after my book was published, pdf copies started appearing for sale on the internet. Do an internet search on “Hal Ward Can Openers”. On the first page you’ll find a couple of links for pdf copies of my book. I didn’t authorize those. That’s ok though. If someone wants my book that much, I am glad that they are reading it.
If you would like a copy of my book, and you don’t want to pay for it, send me a note at email@example.com. I’ll give you my address. If you send me a self-addressed mailer, I will send you a signed copy of my book. In return I ask that you make a donation to your favorite charity in your community. That offer is good for the first 250 people who request it.
I’m serious about that. If you want to read my book, then I want you to read it too. It reflects who I am, what I think, and what I believe in.
It represents my identity. It represents me.
My credit information has been compromised.
My car has been stolen.
My book has been copied.
I have heard the term “identity theft” used a hundred times this month. I think that is a misnomer. My credit information and my car can be stolen, but my identity can never be taken from me. That will always be mine, and mine alone.