Identity Protection: I Can't Even Get My Own Private Information

Husker Home Place

Between usernames, passcodes, my own forgetfulness and secret questions, I can't gain access to my own information when I need it.

Published on: August 27, 2013

Because of the serious and very real threat of identity theft and the ability of hackers to access our private information and use it against us, we have become obsessed with developing a firewall to protect that information on the farm and in our personal lives. But sometimes, it seems the only ones we are protecting it from are ourselves.

Almost everything we do online now is protected by a password. I can’t get into my landline phone, cell phone, bank account or dog’s health information without a username and passcode. The problem is that most of these access codes are different, and sometimes I forget which one is used where. I have them written down some place, but I can’t remember where I put the list.

I love the protective secret questions like “Where did you propose to your wife?” or “What was the name of your first cat?” I remember the answers, but if I don’t type them into the space properly, or I forget to type the answers in lower or upper case, it kicks me back out to another page or denies access altogether. In the case of the cat question, “barn cat” is the answer. Not that hard to remember.

The secret question, “What was your first car?” in my case could be answered several ways. I could type “the 4-door tank,” “the big ugly,” or “big brown beast.” My first car was known affectionately under all of these names. When it comes to gaining access to accounts using the answer to this question, this is a problem.

I understand the need for these safety measures, but it gets to be a real pain when an online thief could figure out the answers to the questions faster than I can. Then, for added security, we are supposed to change our passwords every month or so. Heck, it takes me a month to find the codes I’ve already entered, let alone change them and type in new ones. That’s just too much confusion for my exceedingly slow thought processes.

Many of the accounts that are protected in such ways have streamlined their efforts, allowing us to allow them to remember our passwords each time. However, eventually we will be asked to remember them again to change them because of some security issue, and the problem of finding those particular passwords comes up again and again. I guess I need to get more organized, because this is just a minor inconvenience and a sign of the times in which we live.

Here is this week’s discussion question. Am I the only one who is “password-challenged,” or do any of you have these same issues with passwords and security codes? Feel free to share your comments and experiences with us here.

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