Some people may be impressed by the action sequences or the storyline of the new Justice League Movie, but we’re utterly confused by how their identities were kept a secret with faux pas as big as Superman changes clothes into his Superman outfit in public.
Be a superhero by doing good deeds, but don’t learn the bad identity protection habits of these superheroes:
Wonder Woman actually bought her name from a military nurse, Diana Prince. It helped her in her career and she was certainly good at covering up private information as she became an officer in military intelligence. Since this was essentially the start of her career, the name change didn’t her. But women or men thinking of changing their name for marriage or other reason may want to think about how it affects their professional identity and the risks of identity theft.
While you may have built a professional name for years, you also built a personal credit history that can be quite valuable. And the government makes it very easy for you or someone wanting your credit history to pretend to be you. Don’t make it any easier for others. For identity protection purposes, change your name slowly by starting off with the social security office and then your driver’s license, etc. Don’t hire someone to help you change your name as more eyes will see your private information. Instead, spend a much smaller amount on an identity protection service for the few months while your name is shifting.
Considering Clark Kent would change into his Superman outfit in phone booths, it’s pretty odd people didn’t figure it out. It’s also odd that he was a reporter who found information for a living, yet didn’t conceal his most important secret. Forget kryptonite, Superman’s real weakness was his inferior identity protection skills. The lesson here: don’t leave your license or credit card on the counter when waiting to pay, and don’t leave job or school applications that contain social security numbers, addresses, etc. in public. (See also: How To Protect Your Personal Information)
Be careful when calling customer service agents about saying information such as your Social Security number in public. For instance, if you’re asked by your electric company to provide your Social Security number or your account number, use your account number. Punch in the number versus saying numbers out loud when possible. The same goes for paying for items over the phone with your credit card or bank account number. (See also: 3 Steps To Take If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen)
Batman, the exception
If there is one superhero with the money for identity theft protection to the level that is much more than any of us could afford, it’s Batman. Bruce Wayne had a butler who could properly take care of his batsuits, organize his life, and make sure the batmobile always runs properly. To substitute for 24-hour butler service, check your credit reports regularly or get an identity theft protection product that will monitor your credit reports for you and send you alerts when something changes for $20 per month or less.
Green Lantern may have accidentally stumbled upon his magic ring, but the original Green Lantern made himself a new one that had additional powers. This can be an inspiration for going back to school, taking a few classes or just taking time to problem solve. It’s amazing in his day job, he never left his railroad engineering position to try something new. Just make sure you budget for school and check out the best options for loans or supplementing your income. (See also: 4 Ways To Avoid Student Loan Scams)
Aquaman is often teased as the least interesting superhero because his powers of being able to talk to marine life. But he’s a lesson in that you can feel your identity is protected without having to resort to a life with fish as your main source of companionship. Just be careful and keep your identification and important information out of view. Remember to watch who’s next to you when filling out forms such as W-9s for the Internal Revenue Service, too. You can always turn your screen slightly. And make sure you check emails before clicking links and opening attachments. (See also: What is Spear Phishing?)
We all need some sort of protection to keep bad guys away from our identities. You don’t necessarily have to have a magic ring, but you can keep personal information out of view and earshot of strangers and subscribe to an identity theft protection product.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.