In my honest opinion, the greatest weakness of modern society is that everything is intertwined. It is easy to determine a causal relationship amongst seemingly unrelated events. Nevertheless, this is also modern society’s greatest weapon against most 21st Century problems. By determining the causal relationship, it is then quite easy to come up with strategies that can prevent the events from being intertwined and creating a problem. Such is the case with identity theft and weight gain. Both are seemingly unrelated, but I will endeavor to show that the occurrence of one can trigger the onset and occurrence of the other.
The cybercrime problem
2017 was a trying time for many people, businesses and governments that ended up as targets for cybercrime and even as we near its end, the looming cyber threat continues to grow. Because of the publicity around it, most people believe that the targets for cybercriminals are corporate entities, businesses and governments. In truth, however, the target for most cybercriminals is the common individual’s personal and financial information. Identity theft is growing into a multi-million dollar business and as time goes by, the numbers only keep growing.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft refers to the intentional and illegal use of another person’s identity for financial or other benefits that were meant for the victim. This is a problem that has been around for years, but unfortunately, it is always undermined. There are over 9 different types of identity theft, including child identity theft, criminal identity theft, social security fraud, financial identity theft, etc. Even so, people only tend to focus on a few aspects of identity theft, such as social security and driver’s license fraud, which unfortunately, leaves them exposed to many other types.
Why should this be a concern?
The consequences of identity theft are cumulative and recurrent, which is what makes it’s a serious threat. There are, of course, the immediate and the subsequential consequences. One of the most common immediate consequences is fraud. Identity thieves tend to steal your money, charge purchases to your credit card, file tax returns in your name, etc. Some of the subsequential consequences of this include bankruptcy, damaged credit, criminal charges, etc. Identity theft sets off a chain reaction of complex, damaging events that are very hard to recover from.
The psychological torture
The first direct psychological consequence is the development of stress in response to the theft. You may experience feelings of guilt as you consider what you could have done differently, especially once you realize that the measures against identity theft are as easy as installing a VPN, taking out identity theft insurance, and signing up for an identity theft protection service. You also tend to focus extensively on why you were targeted and sometimes you may even blame yourself for it. As you go about trying to fix the problem – filling in dozens of forms, speaking to authorities and representatives, canceling credit cards, etc., your frustration builds. You begin to question everything and everyone, you consider people as inadequate or incapable of helping you. Then you begin to experience fear and view everyone as a threat, leading to trust issues. Over time, the psychological buildup of remorse, guilt, frustration, stress, fear, etc., leads to the development of anxiety and/or depression.
As a coping mechanism of either the stress, anxiety or depression, you might end up eating more. This, in turn, might lead to excessive and uncontrolled weight gain. But it’s not all so cut and dried. Sometimes, the stress and anxiety might affect your appetite and force you to eat less, which could also cause weight gain. There are a number of reasons why this is including the presence of stress hormones, which affect your metabolism, improper diet and more. Poor dietary habits such as eating junk food all the time might also lead to weight gain.
It might be an unusual correlation, but one still exists between identity theft and weight gain. Considering all that’s at stake, it is important that individuals take active measures to protect against identity theft. Developing an awareness of the methods used in identity theft, how to deal with it after the fact and other useful information is important to effectively protect yourself against it.