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EDUCATION - Know the Facts

FACT #2: It could take up to 2 YEARS and THOUSANDS of dollars to clear your good name!

Identity theft victims often feel personally violated and can suffer potentially severe emotional and other nonmonetary harm.

Although the average victim spends over 30 hours and $500 attempting to “clear their good name,” those victims who suffer from more serious ID theft spend an average of 60 hours and $1,200! And, many victims spend much, much more!   Imagine, you could spend the equivalent of between one and two SOLID work weeks just trying to recover from an identity theft event… not the ideal way to spend your free time, is it?

The good news is that, if you become a victim of identity theft, the sooner you find out about it, the better!  According to a study published by the Federal Trade Commission (September 2003), the amount of time needed to resolve problems depends on how quickly the identity theft is discovered.

For victims who discover, within one month, that an identity theft has occurred, only 24% spent more than 10 hours resolving their problems.  Where the theft was discovered between 1 and 5 months afterwards, 41% of victims spent more than 10 hours resolving their problems.  And, where it took 6 or more months to discover the misuse, 80% of victims required more than 10 hours to resolve their problems!

In addition, victims who quickly discovered that their information was being misused were far less likely to incur out-of-pocket expenses.

It’s amazing what incredible damage ID thieves can do; ranging from a few blemishes on your credit report to actually filing bankruptcy in your name.  Some criminals even use an innocent person’s identity to commit crimes and then disappear, leaving the victim to be arrested!

So, what’s the moral of the story here?  Do whatever you can to make sure that you discover a theft of your identity as soon as possible!


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Quote of the Day
"A good reputation is more valuable than money." - Syrus (Publilius Syrus)
Tip of the Day
If you receive pre-screened credit card offers in the mail, but don't shred them after you decide you don't want to accept the offer, identity thieves could retrieve the offers for their own use without your knowledge. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out of receiving these pre-screened credit card offers. The three major credit bureaus use the same toll-free number to let consumers choose to not receive pre-screened credit offers.
Today's Story
"My purse was stolen in December 1990. In February 1991, I started getting notices of bounced checks. About a year later, I received information that someone using my identity had defaulted on a number of lease agreements and bought a car. In 1997, I learned that someone had been working under my Social Security number for a number of years. A man had been arrested and used my SSN on his arrest sheet. There's a hit in the FBI computers for my SSN with a different name and gender. I can't get credit because of this situation. I was denied a mortgage loan, employment, credit cards, and medical care for my children. I've even had auto insurance denied, medical insurance and tuition assistance denied." - From a consumer complaint to the FTC, January 2, 2001
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