Rex Davis, director of operations, Identity Theft Resource Center
American citizens, businesses, legislators, law enforcement, media, and privacy advocates have spent an immense effort in the past five years pursuing a wide variety of interests in the field of identity theft. People, like me, who work in this field, have very strong feelings about identity theft. We have reported, regulated, legislated, prosecuted, expostulated, argued, denigrated, and even cooperated in the name of identity theft. Different parties have held differing viewpoints about many of the things that might affect identity theft.
Sometimes the din has been deafening as we agreed or disagreed on quite basic things, like the definition and even name of the crime (identity fraud, identity theft, or ID theft, and so forth). It is difficult to even reach agreement on whether the crime is increasing, as some studies indicate, or leveling off, as proposed by others. Taken altogether, America is fortunate to have so many talented and energetic people involved with identity theft. And, most of them are involved with integrity and good intention (but often differing viewpoints). All this activity, without argument, is a massive undertaking in the field of identity theft. So, what’s it all about?
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) might be considered fortunate in one way. Since a big part of our effort is in mitigating identity theft cases for victims, we are constantly reminded of the importance of continuing our effort. A recent email from Lisa S. was one of those reminders. She wrote, “Finding the ID Theft Resource Center was such a gift during that time. My contact there made me feel normal in the midst of the chaos because she could relate to the emotions – stress, confusion, and loneliness. I appreciated her truthfulness, even though at the time some of the guidance I was given I questioned. Ultimately, in the long run, I did experience the emotions and experiences she described. I am grateful to her and the ID Theft Resource Center for the guidance and direction to assist me in coping with and managing the fraud.”
She continued, “I remember when I was told that I wasn’t alone. I was walking to my car parked in a garage a few blocks from the hospital where I worked. I was passing the Chief Medical Examiners office at the corner of the extremely busy intersection at the height of the afternoon traffic. I was speaking about the fraud, emotions, etc. and my contact and I were talking and during our conversation, I shared how lonely I felt. I remember when she said “Lisa, you are not alone”. I needed to hear that so badly that day and it was so overwhelming that I dropped to the ground, sat down on the corner and cried. I just cried. I cried because I could breathe; because no one around me could say they understood; but the people I met at the ITRC could and did understand. I am grateful for the resources the site provided, the direction, and the counseling; but I most thankful for the times when I heard my contacts say the words “you’re not alone”.
It is very easy in the pressure and tempo of our lives, with deadlines, conference calls, computers, webinars, websites, sponsors, media, and all the other activities that fill our days to lose sight of the most important reason for all our efforts against identity theft. What Lisa wrote brought me right back to the reality that this crime destroys lives, careers, and families, and creates a sense of isolation and loneliness that is overwhelming to many. In her brief email Lisa makes clear to all of us the most important reason for our work. Whether we work for identity theft prevention or identity restoration, we must not ever forget that what we accomplish can affect many lives in a positive manner. Now, go out there and do something good for somebody!