ClearanceJobs sat down with Jason Hanson, a former CIA officer and the founder of Spy Escape and Evasion. He offered several tips for individuals – particularly security clearance holders – who are all at risk of identity theft.
“I’ve personally been a victim of identity theft, and it’s all courtesy of the United States Government, when the Chinese hacked 22 million accounts,” said Hanson. “I was one of the people because I had a top secret security clearance…all of the bad people of the world now have my identity and information.”
For security clearance holders, the identity theft risk is less about credit or financial abuse and more related to espionage. In both cases, it’s important to know how you may now be susceptible.
‘They’re not really interested in opening up a credit card and buying $5,000 worth of sporting goods,” said Hanson. “What they want to know is, one, who is susceptible so what can we learn about these people so maybe they can turn them and they can be spies for our country. Or, they want to know who has been in and out of our country so the next time they head over here we can arrest them for espionage.”
As a clearance holder, you know your information has been breached for espionage. But what about the every day risks of internet use? Hanson offered a few key tips everyone needs to implement:
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) any time you access the Internet
- Only use Wi-Fi that has a password
- Check your credit card statements
- Apply a credit freeze
Using a Credit Freeze to Block Credit Card Criminals
“That is the number one step that I recommend people take when I’m working with victims of identity theft,” said Hanson.
You can freeze your credit by simply contacting one of the major credit reporting agencies. Once you’ve frozen your credit, identity thieves can’t access your credit to open a loan or create a new account in your name.