If you haven’t yet, read part 1!
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has been studying how identity theft impacts consumers for almost twenty years Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has been studying how identity theft impacts consumers. In its most recent annual report, ITRC has gone beyond the prevalence of identity theft to give us a deeper look at how it affects its victims.
About 80 percent of those who said they’d experienced identity theft also said it changed their lives. They did things to minimize the risk of a future incident, such as about six out of ten were now checking their credit report more regularly. Many also said they had placed security or credit freezes on their credit reports. But only about a quarter said they were using a fee-based credit or identity monitoring service.
When it came to their well-being, almost everyone reported that identity theft had real consequences. The vast majority were anxious and stressed since their data had been compromised. Many reported having sleep problems. Still, others admitted they had adopted unhealthy, even addictive, behaviors since their identities had been stolen.
This probably comes as a surprise since most didn’t lose that much money. But the direct loss of cash was only part of the damages they experienced.
Identity theft can have immediate and long-term effects on a credit report. And that’s what the report was finding—the downstream impact of identity theft on people’s credit reports:
Debt collectors were contacting a third of those who had their identities compromised—they were being hounded to pay debts they didn’t owe. 25% said they had been turned down for credit or loans; they’d lost out on student loans, mortgages, and more.
And more than half said they were still dealing with identity theft problems. That is striking since 70% also said they would have liked to have gotten more help to deal with the matter, but they hadn’t done so.
There is help available. If your identity theft has been compromised, you must protect your credit—or fix the damage that may have already occurred. To do that, contact an attorney who specializes in representing clients like you—a lawyer who can help you repair your record and obtain compensation for any damages you sustained.