I just spent a few minutes rehashing my thoughts, then signing up for debix identity protection. I wrote a post a while back about personal security, which is part of the reasoning behind this.
I’m not overly likely to run into credit issues in Rwanda or Burundi I don’t think, but I’ve had problems in the past when I traveled. I’d rather not have to deal with identity theft while being a bit out of touch.
I chose debix primarily because it was around longer then lifelock, it was also cheaper (at $25 dollars yearly), and seems to fit my bill rather well. Frankly these things are somewhat of a waste of money if you are vigilant and knowledgeable about protecting avenues of identity exploitation, but you have to have the time, be in the USA, and be active enough to watch things. I doubt these factors will always be the case however. I currently understand a good portion of how you can have your identity requisitioned bu unknown parties (areas you control) and know more about digital systems that are hackable (areas you don’t control), and also see how quickly the two are merging in way that most will be outclassed in technical knowledge and legal knowledge. I think this is an area where technological prowess is becoming a survival trait.
Hopefully people like Nader (when he was a consumer advocate only) and others will help bridge the gap and improve our laws to protect consumers, and improve security (ironically transparency is the best option). In the mean time, you should at least think about what you need to protect, devise a plan around protecting it, and understand the consequences of what happens when you don’t protect it.
I might also add that the credit report, although a useful tool, seems rather ill suited for some of the devices that it’s being used for today. Specifically, job interviews. Statistically I understand it plays a role in defining attributes, however the values involved are specifically designed around loans and credit and not around job duties like innovation, customer service, social interactivity, and etc.
I might remind you all again, don’t give out your social security number (like the idiot LifeLock CEO did as a gimmick). This is another place that a maladapted system is being used for areas that don’t fit. If your SSN is your identifying number with any institution other then the SSA–such as insurance companies–then call and ask them to give you a random ID number and suppress your SSN. Also whenever anyone asks you for an SSN, interrogate them as to why then need it and whether the organization has a privacy standard that protects this information. Many are pro-actively doing both, but it’s always worth verifying this.
Hopefully you won’t get tied in a knot with the loose ends of this rope.