Identity KAOS™ is an identity protection framework with a set of principles, which if applied consistently using the specific identity theft prevention and detection tips offered on this website will reduce the risk of identity theft. These identity protection principles must become part of your thought process and behavior when dealing with personal information.
Personal information is constantly created, stored, transferred or shared and destroyed. This is what I call Identity Life Cycle. In fact, information about you and your family was collected and created before you were even born awaiting additional physical characteristics upon your birth to be transmitted for the issuance of your Birth Certificate. (The fundamental process is the same in all other countries with minor variations). You must understand the information life cycle, before you can manage and control your information.
In some cases, you are in control of the information and therefore can manage your identity protection, and in other cases you are not. For example, you have no control over the birth certificate issued upon your birth as hospitals are required to report births, whereas when applying for a loan or the frequency by which you use a debit card, you are somewhat in control as you can decide how many credit cards you want to hold or find out more about the financial institution’s security policies before you apply and submit information for a loan.
Information in general is the most valuable commodity for everyone. Knowing what you don’t know or not knowing what you know can be the difference between life and death. Information can destroy or save lives, break or build families, make people richer or poorer, provide competitive advantage and success for a company or bankrupt it, and destroy a personality.
Our focus here is primarily identity theft and information misuse which is a situation where someone claims to be someone else by stealing their personal information and commit various crimes. This crime is on the rise and some statistics can be found here. As more information is created and shared every day in many forms and shapes, the security and privacy risks and their unwanted consequences are likely to increase for the foreseeable future.
Although every one is absolutely vulnerable to identity hijack including the dead, the identity of high credit worthy individuals, rich and famous celebrities, and corporate executives provide better value and may be more likely to be targets for two reasons: First, their identity may include better credit ratings and numerous valuable bank accounts and credit cards, and second, they are more visible and either loved or hated. For example, depending on the nature or reason of the information theft, stealing personal information of people with bad credit is not as useful as stealing a person’s identity with excellent credit and unlimited credit lines. Curiosity and espionage also can play a big role when targeting the high risk categories just mentioned. Again, a lot of people are identity theft targets, but some identities provide better value.
The Identity KAOS™ principles along with the identity protection tips on this web site will provide simple ideas and solutions to help you attempt to:
A) prevent someone from stealing your personal information or at least attempt to make their task more difficult,
B) detect signs of stolen information and any potential misuse of that information, and
C) contain and minimize the damage inflicted as a result of the stolen information.
The eight Identity KAOS™ principles as they relate to personal information protection are summarized as:
1) Knowing which identity component is exploitable for identity theft and fraud purposes,
2) Knowing where the identified components are at all times,
3) Assessing whether the identified components are needed,
4) Assessing the way identity components are managed,
5) Organizing identity components,
6) Overseeing and monitoring the security of identity components,
7) Securing identity components in accordance with organized categories, and
8) Sharing personal information with caution.
The principles are further described in their respective sections below: