What can we do about identity theft?

If it sounds too good to be true…


Some say we are the guinea-pig generation for technology. I would agree. However, unlike guinea-pigs, we have agency over many of our choices.

Having had Internet access since I was little, I would say I have generally been careful. Like many of us, my parents told me not to talk to strangers, which undoubtedly saved me from some shady encounters. Due to a child’s thought process, things out of my sight were also out of my mind. The internet did not scare me.

However, as I have matured, I have realized the Internet can be a dangerous, risky place, especially related to identity theft. Bad actors or bots will find you whether or not you talk to them. For example, someone used my school email for Onlyfans. Thankfully, security measures stopped them by sending me a confirmation email. Javelin Strategy & Research released a report in 2017 saying more than one million minors, two-thirds of them seven and under, have experienced identity theft. I am not an island.

Simon Gutierrez, a freshman at OPRF, described his experience with identity theft: “I got sent this link…and it was…[a] free Nike 100 dollar gift card giveaway thing. It signed me out of the Instagram app. I couldn’t get back in, like, my password wasn’t working. it sent the link to…10 of my friends on Instagram pretending it was me.” 

Gutierrez says although identity theft is “not something that crosses my mind too much…the thought of it does worry me.”  On advice, he believes “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

“If it sounds too good to be true…” is another phrase my parents drilled into me, likely because it is easy to forget. It’s also easy to let our guard down, especially once we are comfortable using the Internet. The Internet is not a place where we can be relaxed with our information. Keep your passwords safe. I keep mine in a small book. Keep your personal information personal. Check your finance reports. Another recommendation is to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix and familiarize yourself on the dangers of social networking. 

By staying watchful and knowlegeable, we can avoid or lessen the impact of identity theft. While guinea pigs may be intelligent rodents, OPRF Huskies have the superior intellect, by far.