Putting Identity Theft Into Perspective

The Truth About Identity Theft

When it comes to identity theft, there is definitely cause for concern. But are companies starting to take advantage of the fear that this very personal crime instills in us? The sad fact of the matter is, some companies are. Before you go spending money to protect yourself from identity theft, there are some things you need to consider.

The Cold Hard Facts

Yes, identity theft is a cause for concern. Yes, it can cost the average consumer around $1,000 and close to 30 hours to recover from the crime. However, it's important to remember that, according to FTC statistics, only 1.5 percent of the American population fall victim to identity theft. Add that to the fact that the most you can be responsible for is $50 of unauthorized charges, and most credit card companies won't even hold you to that.

Forget About the Caution?

If only 1.5 percent of Americans fall victim to identity theft, does that mean we should all forget about the precautions we've been taking? Absolutely not. Even the slightest risk of identity theft should instill a sense of caution and lead you to take precautionary measures. That doesn't, however, mean you should spend hundreds of dollars to protect yourself.

Moderation is Key

Many companies are offering overpriced identity theft protection products. In actuality, basic credit monitoring services and the regular precautionary measures (such as mail habits, document shredding, Internet and email savvy, etc.) should be enough unless you're at a significant higher risk than others due to special circumstances.

Concern, Not Fear

Remember, don't let your concern regarding identity theft turn into irrational fear. Companies that sell unnecessary services will play on those fears and will try to milk you for as much money as they possibly can. Protect yourself from identity theft effectively, but make sure you're rational about it to.

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