The truth is that you can make things better, but life cannot be perfected. You cannot reduce your risk to zero. It's still worth trying, of course, just as it's worth looking both ways before you cross the street. But no matter how scrupulously you design your life, you need a Plan B in your back pocket. The alternative is to feel the way I feel right now: devastated and undone. You may get hit, but you don't have to feel betrayed. Anticipating the punch makes it a whole lot easier to get up again.
Since 2005, nearly 600 million records have been improperly accessed through data breaches caused by hacking, physical file theft, lost unencrypted laptops and back-up devices, negligent posting of personal information by companies and governments and generally Mickey Mouse security protocols, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Further, in disaster situations like Sandy, oftentimes when homes and vehicles are damaged, destroyed or abandoned, unprotected documents containing sensitive personal information, automobile registrations and credit or debit cards are washed away and become magnets for criminals.
That said, it is imperative to trifurcate this issue:
Let's talk for a moment about damage control.
I had flood insurance. But because my insurance agent insisted, I also got excess flood insurance. That took me from a recovery which would have left me almost naked against the storm to full replacement value. Believe me, that "future me" factor is kicking in big-time right now. You, too, can make choices now that you'll be grateful for later on.