Faith over fear… man, sometimes ignoring fear and choosing faith seems impossible. Very dear friends of ours had their housebroken into recently. The majority of things stolen were items which could easily lead to identity theft. We live in a world where people would rather steal then earn an honest day’s living. Do they get some sort of high in knowing they succeeded in taking that which did not belong to them? Are the penalties and the consequences, for such action, not strong enough to persuade them that, maybe, just maybe this is not the best choice for their life? What happened to the character traits of honesty, goodness, kindness and integrity? Not so long ago, we lived in a time when the doors to our home were left unlocked; a time when windows were open 24/7 without worry of harm or theft. Has the technological age simply made it easier for evil to thrive? After all, the Internet has placed everything at our fingertips.
Out of curiosity, today I researched companies, who were compromised by hackers. People who found a way into their software systems and retrieved personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, bank accounts, passwords, etc. I’m stunned at the numbers; 15 companies just in the last 30 days. Small companies and major corporations alike; places we frequent using our credit/debit cards, etc. every day…. businesses similar to those hacked into earlier this year… Target, Michael’s, Neiman Marcus, PF Chang’s, and a host of others.
Living in fear is always a choice; certainly not how I choose to live, however. So what can one do? Be alert to surroundings and people standing close by when shopping. Always be aware of where your credit card is and who is handling it. Change passwords regularly. As tempting as it is to use only 1 or 2 different passwords for everything … Don’t do it! Use multiple passwords and make sure they are random. The Internet has made our lives easier with online banking, online purchasing, online everything. Always check your auto pay accounts for accuracy. Be disciplined in how many accounts you use and in how many websites you have user IDs and passwords. Delete on a regular basis those accounts and websites you do not visit or have need of anymore. Don’t leave information out there, take the time to delete.
Know your options for securing your information. There is a lot of good information available on how to guard against fraud and identity theft. Be aware of the latest scams. Scammers come up with new ideas on how to bilk us out of our hard earned money, or take advantage of us, almost daily. Never give out any kind of personal information, over the phone, if you did not generate the phone call. When any kind of telemarketer calls, simply say in a gentle and kind voice, “I am on the do not call list, please remove me from your list, thank you” and hang up. Never let someone in your house… Do not do it! Unless you know the person, or again, you generated the contact and asked for their services. Check your credit report regularly.
Sadly, but very important, do not assume everyone is honest and has your best interests at heart. It breaks my heart to say, “It is time for skepticism, until proven otherwise, to be the best course of action”.
I wish I could give you a 100% full proof method guaranteeing we would never fall victim, but I can’t. There will always be someone or a group of someone’s whose mission it is to find a way into the system. I have no desire to live my life in fear over what could happen. I do want to do the very best I can in making it a little more challenging for those intent on doing harm to accomplish their goal. Maybe it is time to become a cash only person. Hmm, our society makes that challenging if not impossible, but I wonder.
The Bible says we will always have evil in this world, and as the time for Christ’s return draws nearer the wickedness of others will accelerate. Perhaps, we are entering those end times. I know in whom my future depends and on him I will rely, and in him I will trust. No, faith over fear is not always easy, but if I keep my eyes focused on eternity in the One who secures my future, I can live a life where faith rules over fear. God is always and forever faithful.
Until next time,
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty .I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler…. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, Psalm 91:1-5a (adapted)