It was not as if the thief had physically taken anything from me. My purse was not stolen, my credit cards were not lost, and my debit card personal identification number PIN was not misused. However, this predator was actually a pickpocket and had effectively slipped my identity right out of my pocket without me knowing it. Spiritual identity theft occurs when Satan slowly and subtly tries to steal our sense of who we are and leaves us searching for our purpose and destiny. As a victim of natural and spiritual identity theft, I have experienced the damaging effects of losing my identity in two ways.
This kind of spiritual theft may go unaddressed for many years until you face a difficult situation, such as a divorce, a bad relationship, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a chronic illness or a financial struggle, and end up having to do a personal inventory of your life. DeMonica D. Gladney, Esq. How do I get a restraining order? Links to websites outside of lapdonline. Enlaces a sitios web fuera de lapdonline. Los Angeles Police Department.
The crime of identity theft is described in the California Penal Code as follows: Section Now more sophisticated means are commonly used: Accessing your credit report fraudulently by posing as an employer, loan officer or landlord and ordering a copy; Stealing mail from your mailbox to obtain newly issued credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, or tax information, and; Dumpster diving in your trash containers for discarded credit card and loan applications.
To reduce the amount of personal information that is in circulation consider the following: Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three major credit reporting bureaus, i. This will limit the number of pre-approved offers of credit that you receive. These offers, if thrown away in the trash, are potential targets of identity thieves who will use them to order credit cards using your identity. By doing this, your name is added to computerized name deletion lists used by nationwide marketers.
Have your name and address removed from telephone books and reverse directories. Install a locked mailbox at your residence or business to reduce mail theft or use a post office box. When you order new checks, do not have them sent to your home address. Have them sent to a post office box or arrange to pick them up at your bank. When you pay bills, do not place the envelopes containing your checks in your home mailbox for the letter carrier to pick up.
If stolen, your checks can be altered and cashed by identity thieves.
It is best to mail your checks and other sensitive mail at the post office rather than your home or neighborhood mailbox. Write checks with a fine-point permanent marker. Pay bills with an electronic bill payment service. Reduce the number of credit cards you actively use to a bare minimum.
Carry only one or two credit cards in your wallet. Cancel all unused credit card accounts. Even though you do not use these accounts, account numbers are recorded in your credit report along with other data that can be used by identity thieves. Do the same with your bank accounts. Never give out your credit card number or other personal information over the telephone, unless you have a trusted business relationship with the person or company and you have initiated the telephone call.
Identity thieves have been known to call their victims with a fake story that goes something like this, "Today is your lucky day! All we need is your credit card number and expiration date to verify you as the lucky winner. Make sure that you recognize every line of information established in your file. Always take credit card receipts with you. Never throw them in a public trash container.
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Watch the mail when you expect a new or reissued credit card to arrive. Contact the issuer if the card does not arrive. When creating a password or Personal Identification Number PIN , do not use the last four digits of your social security number, date of birth, middle name, the name of your family pet, consecutive numbers of anything else that could easily be discovered by identity thieves.
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Ask your financial institution to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional code a number or word when assessing your account. Memorize all your passwords. Do not record them on anything in your wallet or purse. Protect your social security number. Release it only when absolutely necessary tax forms, employment records, most banking, stock and property transactions. The social security number is the key to your credit and bank accounts and is a prime target of identity thieves.
Do not have your social security number printed on your checks. Do not let merchants write your social security number on your checks because of the risk of fraud. Carefully review your credit card statements for unauthorized use. Do not throw pre-approved credit offers in the trash or in a recycling container without first shredding them. The discarded credit offers can be used by identity thieves to order credit cards in your name and to have the credit cards mailed to their address. Do the same with other sensitive information like credit card receipts.
Home shredders can be purchased at many office supply stores. Demand financial institutions to adequately safeguard your data. Request a special password that only you would know. Memorize all passwords. Discourage your bank from using the last four digits of the social security number as the PIN they assign to customers. When you fill out loan applications, find out how the company disposes of them. Some car dealerships, department stores, car rental agencies, and video stores have been known to be careless with customer applications.
When you pay by credit card, ask the business how it stores and disposes of the transaction slip. Avoid paying by credit card if you think the business does not use adequate safeguards. Store your cancelled checks in a safe place. In the wrong hands, they can reveal a lot of information about you.
Never permit your credit card number to be written on your checks. It is a violation of California law California Civil Code and places you at risk of fraud. Any entity involved in handling personal information should train all its employees, from the top to the bottom, on responsible information-handling practices. Through my years of mentoring others, I have come to recognize a pattern.
The enemy attempts to make us feel powerless by dehumanizing us.
Once we feel powerless, he has an open door to distort the truth of who God created us to be. It is a two-step process: first powerlessness, then spiritual manipulation. This is what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Once she allowed herself to doubt her value to God, the enemy was able to deceive her into eating the fruit. This is the exact same formula the enemy uses today. In 1 Kings 17 and 18, Elijah stood for three years against King Ahab in the midst of a famine.
Spiritual Identity Fraud by Jonathan S. Potter, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Then he stood against prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel and defeated them. Queen Jezebel was angry that she lost at Mount Carmel and roared at Elijah that she was going to kill him. Elijah was tired and emotionally spent. He forgot who he was and allowed the words of Jezebel to penetrate his heart. Instead of standing up to her, the attack on his identity caused him to flee and become deeply depressed. We see this kind of spiritual manipulation in our more recent history as Adolf Hitler was able to manipulate an entire country. Germany had lost World War I and suffered the consequences of paying reparations, causing deep economic troubles for the country.
This sense of powerlessness in the German people made them feel dehumanized; therefore, they were vulnerable to having their identity twisted. This opened a door for the Nazi Party to spiritually manipulate the minds of the German people. Instead of getting their identity from God, they found a distorted identity in nationalism.
Consider the Nazi flag, bearing the symbol of a twisted cross. What an appropriate picture of how the enemy worked against the true identity of Germany. The devil made them feel powerless, then twisted their thinking through a human mouthpiece that defied the ultimate truth of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Thankfully, God is a restorer of souls. He restored Elijah, though it took a little time.