Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to have a hurricane or a tornado fly over you, the loud swirling sounds ripping away? Then after what feels like hours rather than a few short minutes all is quiet, leaving you wondering what will happen next. I'd imagine this same feeling hits just about everyone after they realize they have shared personal information with a con artist or scammer. How many of us are prepared for either of these disasters?
Natural disasters cause significant damage to us financially, emotionally, and physically, however so can Information Disasters like identify theft, or a virus that deletes every photo we've taken in that past 5 years. Preparation for such a disaster is key to avoiding or recovering from it, but what is the right level of preparation for an Information Disaster? Most of us could put together either of the kits in a few hours, but many of us don't feel they are necessary or believe it won't happen to them. I'd encourage you to take a few minutes and put together at least a few items from each of the lists below.
Ready America provides a list for preparing a Disaster Kit, I'll compare this kit to my suggestions for an Information Disaster kit.
|Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:||Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Information Disaster Response Kit:|
|Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation||Record everything you do in a journal, this will help you keep track of what you've completed, and provide piece of mind down the road.|
|Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food||Contact companies you have outstanding balances with, and inform them of the situation, requesting an extension as necessary for your current bill.|
|Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both||Check your credit report and social security information at least weekly.|
|Flashlight and extra batteries||Check your data backups at least monthly.|
|First aid kit||Begin backing up your data if you haven't already. Using an inexpensive USB thumb drive which can be stored in a safe is a quick and easy solution.|
|Whistle to signal for help||Contact the authorities if you believe a crime has been committed against you.|
|Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place||Research and prepare a list of trusted companies who specialize in credit monitoring.|
|Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation||Research and prepare a list of trusted companies who specialize in removing mal-ware or viruses from your computer.|
|Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities||Stop using your computer, or talking to phone scammers until you are sure they are safe to use.|
|Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)||An emergency fund of cash to last you at least 1 month, just in case your accounts are frozen.|
|Local maps||A list of all account numbers including credit cards, banks, and even home utilities.|
|Cell phone with chargers||A contact list of toll free numbers to contact each of your providers.|
Keep this kit somewhere safe and secure, and be ready to lean upon it to help you get through an Information Disaster.
Please share your thoughts on my suggestions above, I'd really be interested in making this list better!