Identity theft affects victims in many ways. And although there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim, it’s impossible to immunize yourself against it completely. Therefore, it’s important to understand the ways that identity theft can affect you. In this article, we examine the effects of identity theft.
Tangible Effects of Identity Theft
Identity theft has a number of tangible effects on victims, including:
Damaged credit: If a criminal uses a person’s Social Security number (SSN) to open new credit accounts, this can severely damage the victim’s credit. Not only can this affect a person’s ability to obtain new lines of credit, but it can also hurt the victim’s job prospects and increase his or her insurance premiums.
Tax debt: Identity theft can also leave victims with a hefty tax bill. For example, identity thieves sometimes file fraudulent returns in a victim’s name to obtain a tax refund, leaving the victim to deal with the aftermath.
A criminal record: When a criminal uses a person’s identity to commit a crime and then gives the victim’s information to the police following an arrest, the identity theft victim can end up (at least temporarily) with a criminal record.
Lost time and money: Finally, it can take years to recover from identity theft, and victims routinely lose money in the form of expenses caused by the theft.
Emotional Effects of Identity Theft
As discussed above, identity theft clearly has tangible effects on its victims. However, identity theft can also take a heavy emotional toll on those unlucky enough to be affected by the illicit practice. Unfortunately, the emotional effects that identity theft has on victims are often overlooked. Victims of identity theft often feel violated, anxious, and unsafe. In addition, when a victim has trouble proving identity theft, this can lead to anger and frustration. Further, the stress suffered by identity theft victims can even take a toll on them physically. For example, studies have shown that many identity theft victims experience physical symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, heart palpitations, aches and pains, sweating, and stomach issues.
The Bottom Line
Given the seriousness of the effects of identity theft, it is important that victims take steps to remedy the harm they have suffered. One way to recover from the effects of identity theft is to seek legal recourse. Therefore, if you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible for help.
Contact an Identity Theft Lawyer
Identity theft is routinely the result of the negligent actions or inactions of organizations that store your personal information. If an organization’s negligence has resulted in the theft of your identity, our attorneys are here to help you seek financial compensation for all losses stemming from the theft. Please contact our Identity Theft lawyer as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.