HAS YOUR IDENTITY BEEN STOLEN?
By DeMonica D. Gladney, Esq.,
bestselling author of Identity Theft: Discovering The Real You
Can you imagine finding out that someone has been posing as you for days, weeks or even months? Since you know that the imposter is not you, shouldn’t it be just as easy for others to figure out the truth? It is not the fault of the stores that gave the imposter merchandise, the banks that handed out money or the creditors that extended credit to the “fake” you. They believed that the thief was you since he or she apparently had proper identification to prove it. After the thief had maxed out the fraudulent credit cards in your name and left the bills or loans unpaid, these same businesses now want you to assume your “stolen” identity and pay up. Sadly, this sounds like another tragic case of identity theft.
Despite all the efforts to combat identity theft, it has become the fastest growing crime in America. Almost ten million people fall victim to this “faceless” crime in the United States each year. Identity theft is an equal opportunity crime, affecting victims of all races, ages and income levels. It occurs when someone obtains and uses your personal identifying information. This serious crime can happen in a variety of ways, such as when a thief steals your credit card to make purchases, impersonates you to open a loan, pretends to be you when arrested for a crime or even uses your social security number to apply for a job. Since there is no one-size fits all when it comes to identity theft, we must figure out how to protect ourselves from a moving target.
Identity theft works best when the unsuspecting victims remain unaware of what has happened. Many people don’t even realize that their identity has been stolen until it’s too late. They only discover their plight once their credit has been ruined, and they have suffered substantial, financial losses. I know first-hand because it happened to me, and I didn’t discover the theft until almost three months after it happened. Before I could stop the impersonator, she had already maxed out all of the new fraudulent credit cards. I was left holding the bag with nearly $10,000 in bills for merchandise that I had never seen. I was shocked and appalled that the thief was able to use my “identity” to obtain more luxuries than I had using my own identity.
Although I had taken proactive steps to protect myself, I still ended up becoming a “victim” of identity theft. I was very careful about giving out my personal information. I checked my credit reports and reviewed my bank statements in a timely manner. I was devastated because there was nothing else I could have done to avoid this essentially “virtual” crime. It was not as if the thief had physically taken anything from me. My purse was not stolen, my credit cards were not lost, and my debit card personal identification number (PIN) was not misused. However, this predator was actually a pickpocket and had effectively slipped my identity right out of my pocket without me knowing it.
While I was still struggling with my ordeal, I recalled how often I had heard the expression, “First natural, then spiritual.” If this type of identity theft was happening in the natural, I wondered what the enemy had been up to behind the scenes in the spiritual realm. Then, I imagined going through life and suddenly discovering that my “spiritual identity” had been stolen. This thought led me to the scripture, John 10:10, which states that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. That’s when I knew that I had also been exposed to “spiritual identity theft,” which is even more traumatic and life-altering than the loss of my money and credit. Spiritual identity theft occurs when Satan slowly and subtly tries to steal our sense of who we are and leaves us searching for our purpose and destiny.
As a victim of natural and spiritual identity theft, I have experienced the damaging effects of losing my identity in two ways. As a result, I finally realized that with the same tenacity that I went after the imposter who stole my “natural” identity, I had to go after the identity thief in the “spiritual” realm. That’s why it’s so important that spiritual identity theft be exposed for what it really is…a deceptive scheme of Satan to rob us of our God-given identity.
Similar to the natural crime, many victims of spiritual identity theft may not even be aware of what has happened until it’s too late.
This kind of spiritual theft may go unaddressed for many years until you face a difficult situation, such as a divorce, a bad relationship, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a chronic illness or a financial struggle, and end up having to do a personal inventory of your life. At that point, you suddenly discover that your spiritual identity has been stolen or lost in the process, and you end up asking yourself the critical question, “Who am I?” Only then can you begin the long and challenging, but necessary journey in search of your spiritual identity. It’s the only way that you can finally discover and reclaim the “real” you.
DeMonica D. Gladney, Esq., is a corporate attorney in the Houston, Texas area. She is an inspirational speaker, poet and bestselling author of Identity Theft: Discovering the Real You; Willing to Wait: From Revelation to Manifestation, and Reflections from God. She has been featured on the Daystar Television Network, various radio talk shows, and in print media around the country. She was selected for the 2010 Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals and the Who’s Who in Black Houston.
Please visit this accomplished author’s website at: www.demonicagladney.com