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Identity theft is a huge business.

I was once stopped at an airport in Toronto by US Customs and detained for 2 hours. They even took my cell phone away.  My wife could do nothing but wait. They kept asking me over and over if I had a tattoo on my right shoulder even though they could see perfectly well I didn’t. Some drug dealer in San Francisco had got ahold of my California driver’s license information. He then got busted. He’d already made a realistic fake ID, used it for bail and then ran.

It seems California outsources its DMV data processing to Mexico as well as selling the information to commercial vendors and giving it free to insurance companies. Boy does that make me feel secure!

I was eventually cleared and was very happy both that we’d got there really early and that the flight was delayed. I now have a letter from the INS saying I’m not a wanted drug lord that I keep with me on overseas trips. Identity theft haunts me.

I suggest that everyone who has documents to be concerned about should get a small fire rated safe to keep them in. Bolt it directly onto wall studs or the floor. Keep your passport and unused credit cards there too. We also have a shredder for documents with personal data on them that we don’t want to save. As much as you hate it, change your on-line passwords regularly. There have been so many data breaches that we get free credit monitoring several times over.

Sadly there is no way to completely protect yourself. Your data is out there, somewhere. And the only place he could have got my CADL info is the government. I don’t use it for any other purpose.