Individually, we may have many fears in life including identity theft fear. Most of us fear something in life and losing our identity to fraudsters is not an isolated fear. Whether it’s the fear of losing money or a job, not finding the right mate, losing the house, losing a loved one, identity fraud, spiders, height, or dying early from painful diseases, we are probably afraid of more than just one thing. In a perfect life, we would not have any fears because of the awareness of our fears and plans to deal with them. We feel safe if we consciously don’t have any fears or at least acknowledge and deal with real fears but we are in big trouble if our fears are based on wrong information, hype and misconception or if we ignore our real and deepest fears for a long time.
What is fear?
According to some descriptions I found on the Internet, fear is a normal protective human emotion and survival mechanism that kicks in when we face danger. Sometimes, these dangers are real based on past experiences or personal observations but in other times they are the results of our imagination or perception based on hype and false information. I know I get fearful when I watch too much TV. There is always some type of hype on TV, Internet and in newspapers about something whether it is identity theft, recession, or housing meltdown. I’m not saying identity theft or other dangers reported are not real but they are sometimes made bigger that the real threats to sell us ideas, new products, services and even wars. Therefore, depending on our personal experiences and how much reported news we are exposed to, what may seem dangerous to us may not seem so dangerous to others. As such, fear of certain things may appear in varying levels to some people, in certain countries and cultures. I’m sure that identity theft fear does not appear in all countries at the same level. Identity theft fear is not as big of a deal in some countries as it is in the US or other western countries or at least the perception of the real threat is not as huge.
Is fear bad?
Identity theft fear and other fears are not bad in all cases as they protect us from real dangers through natural and emotional warnings to take action. It is however bad if fear is created based on false information and hype especially if it lasts for a long time affecting our lives. Some people may even seek out the thrill and excitement of extremely fearful events like riding on roller coasters. But even in this case, the roller coaster excitement level may vary for different people. Fear based on real data is also bad if it is not dealt with properly bcause we put ourselves in danger. So, how do we know a fear we experience such as identity theft fear is based on real danger and not hype? And, how do we conquer it? Through proper risk management, which includes assessing the real threats and action plan to deal with them.
When people don’t have any fears, it could be because they don’t consider any event to be dangerous, almost like nothing can happen, either because of ignorance or good planning. I know I was much fearless when I was younger. I mostly had no fear and I thought nothing could happen to me. Although sometimes I envy those days, I don’t think I realized or acknowledged that some negative events can occur in my life that could affect me. So, I never prepared for any bad situation and luckily nothing extremely bad ever happened to me (law of attraction in action!). To even think or consider that life is rosy all the time and nothing can ever go wrong is not realistic. I’m not suggesting that we should be pessimistic in life and expect negative events but I’m suggesting to consider the slight possibility that some things can go wrong and yet positively expect the best event and outcome through proper planning.
In some cases, we might be aware of our real fears but continue to ignore them. These fears can be based on real information and if we ignore them instead of preparing for and dealing with them, we’ll continue to have stronger feelings of fear because our god given alert system wants to warn us about impending dangers. If someone claims to have conquered all fears in life, then that person must be very happy, creative, action oriented, and risk taker. By risk taking, I don’t mean taking uncalculated and irrational actions that could destroy our precious assets but rather actions taken based on risk and reward analysis.
I have previously discussed managing unavoidable risks. We can avoid certain risks and prevent negative events through our own actions, but other risks are not so avoidable and must be dealt with through proper risk planning. Such unavoidable risks, for which we have not properly planned, can create a constant state of fear in our minds because of their unpredictability and our lack of preparedness to deal with them. If we consider threats or dangers to be our enemies, then the more we know about our enemies, better we can fight and win the battle against them. When we are prepared, even if we don’t win the battle completely, we can reduce the impact when we’re hit with such events.
In order to overcome identity theft fear, we should put aside all the hype and consider the possibility of its occurrence and plan to effectively and timely deal with it. When we know we have taken all the preventive controls to stop identity theft from materializing itself, and we know we have controls to detect identity theft when it happens, and limit its impact through damage control and containment procedures, we can put the identity theft fear to rest until it happens.
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