MPHPL Reviews ... "Swiped" by Adam Levin

MPHPL Reviews ... "Swiped" by Adam Levin

How safe is your personally-identifiable information?  Have you done everything you can to protect yourself from identity theft?  Is there any way to mitigate disaster when the near-certainty of third-party data breaches threaten to compromise your privacy, peace of mind and well-being?  If you find yourself asking these questions, or feel at all anxious about how you might answer them, Adam Levin’s Swiped promises to arm you with knowledge to capably grapple with these concerns. 

In Swiped, consumer advocate and fraud expert Levin offers readers alarming details about the exponentially-growing problem of identity theft in America.  The work is divided into four major sections: (1) an overview of the problem, (2) the basics of prevention (3) the specific types of identity theft, as well as (4) appendices of resources and terms.  Page-to-page, Swiped presents some of its most significant ideas in the style of a magazine article, with topical inset boxes and quotations pulled from the body text for additional emphasis.  Throughout, Levin writes in a conversational, jargon-lite manner intended for a popular audience. 

Those readers looking for information beyond the introductory will be a bit disappointed.  Swiped offers, albeit with greater length, much the same degree of information that frequent television and internet news junkies have heard many times before. (Levin is a frequent guest and columnist of several major outlets.)  While much of its best information bears some repetition, Swiped restates its statistics and some of its major tactical advice tediously.  In the bargain, one may feel like they’ve learned somewhat less than might be hoped for in over 250 pages. 

Sadly, reading Swiped may exacerbate your identity theft fears.  Why?  It’s important to clarify that no guarantee is offered that readers will avoid identity theft completely by following the book’s recommendations.  Quite the contrary:  even from its earliest pages, Levin explains that it’s not a question of if you will be compromised, it’s really only a matter of when, how, and the severity. 

The goal of Swiped is to explain how American society, from private individuals to corporations and governmental entities, knowingly and unknowingly fail to protect our identities in a burgeoning digital world that only assures ever-easier exploitation.  While high-degrees of technical expertise do facilitate theft, Levin asserts that the only real barriers to one’s identity being stolen are population size, time and personal mindfulness.  Ultimately, you must prepare yourself.

Click here to reserve Swiped.

Review by Michael Zeiger
Reference Services Supervisor
Harris Branch

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