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Credit Education > Identity Theft > What are the Repercussions of Identity Theft?

What are the Repercussions of Identity Theft?

By Janet Lacey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Before we get into the consequences of being a victim of identity theft, let us first try and define the crime. It is defined as a fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else so as to get benefits monetary or otherwise.

That is about the legal definition of this heinous crime. It is not something which is seen out in the open. One cannot actually physically experience identity theft. When it happens, all that is left is a void in one’s head, a sort of numbness which really can never be cured. It’s not like someone attacked you in the middle of the night on the street. Now that is real. But this is something which is really not palpable unless one experiences it.

It would have serious consequences on one’s life. You could lose your job, your marriage could be adversely affected, or you could end up going bankrupt. The thing is, when a person is robbed this way; it is his life’s savings which are at bay. Not his cutlery or his expensive LCD television. This is something which is much more important to a person, it is his security for old age or emergencies or education. All of which are very crucial matters.

Nowadays, identity theft is also used a tool of terrorism. It can be used for illegal immigration, arms export, drug smuggling, blood diamond sale, the list is endless. It is also widely practiced by all governments by their intelligence agencies to carry out covert operations.

It is said that the identity theft racket causes in excess of a 5 billion dollar loss to credit card companies annually. But they write it off as business expenditure. This is because they do not want the bad publicity. If people know that credit cards are so unsafe, they would stop using them and the companies would lost the business which runs into hundreds of billions.

There are ways to prevent identity theft. Like put a password on all your credit card accounts. Whenever you hand out information, always make sure that the person demanding the same is within the limits of his obligations or authority to do so. Never leave documents lying around. Certain credit card applications, bank communications must and should be shredded or disposed by other discrete means. Check your statements regularly. And make sure you report a fraudulent transaction to the authorities without fail. Always ask for a credit report from the authorized agencies. This report will show whether your address has been changed or whether any fraudulent transactions have taken place on your accounts.

The consequences of identity theft can be very grim indeed. A person can go to the extent of losing his/her mind. The loss of everything one has strived for will create a permanent scar on one’s life. And it will become near impossible to recover. Some people even commit suicide when driven to the brink. It is a really very sad and depressing story when one reads about identity theft in the newspaper every day.

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