Who are you?

Even after all I have seen I am still amazed at how oblivious and trusting people can be.  Don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate people trusting me, especially when it works in my favor.

Recently I was back in my home town which is a rather small place.  I need to set up a new PO Box for myself so I went to the local Post Office and filled out the application.  It is a relatively easy process but does require two forms of ID, one with a picture and one without.  I used my driver’s license and my car insurance.  The person working the counter did not know me but did know my mother.  I mentioned that and all of a sudden, I did not need to actually show my forms of ID.  I did list them on the application, but the person behind the counter did not even look at them.

I’m not complaining and I understand how small towns work.  I lived in one for a very long time.  I was still very shocked that my IDs were not even given a quick glance.

You may be asking, “Why is the Cyber Security guy blogging about this?”  The reason is simple.  Regardless of all that we do to protect ourselves online, people still miss the ever so simple, low-tech things that malicious people do to steal identities and get away with a crime.  Opening a PO Box in someone else’s name is one of the first things someone can do to establish a new and/or fake identity.

In this case, I know that the person at the Post Office was trying to be helpful and speed things along for my sake.  I know that it was done out of kindness and not apathy or anything like that.  What is disconcerting is the complacency that rampant in our society regardless of everything in the news.

My advice to those of you who work in any field where it may be part of your job to verify ID is to please do so.  I’m begging you from the perspective of a security professional, a consumer, and just a member of society.  Don’t make it easy for the bad guys to steal someone else’s identity.

My advice to everyone is to be careful.  Always be on the lookout for these types of situations.  I’m the kind of person who is thankful for the clerk at the department store who actually looks at my ID, then looks at me, then verifies the ID matches the credit card I am trying to use.  Why? Simple! I appreciate someone looking out for my wellbeing especially when it doesn’t take long to do.

So the next time you call customer support to someplace and they ask you questions to verify your identity, don’t get frustrated.  Be glad they have such procedures in place for your protection.  Also, if you are reading this and you are like me, spread the word to your friends and family.  Let’s all work together to help take the easy things away from those criminals and other malicious people out there who don’t care about our well being.

As always, stay connected but stay protected.

Austin Bynum
Chief Watchman
Cyber Watchtower

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