Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? If so, you are not alone. Millions of others have had similar experiences. But if not, it could be just a matter of time before your name is added to a constantly growing list. And just for the record, not having ID theft protection helping you keep an eye on things is like playing with fire.
If you aren’t so sure about the seriousness of the identity theft problem, go online and look up the statistics yourself. Prepare to be alarmed. Just in the U.S. alone, annual losses are in the billions of dollars. Until we figure out a way to stop ID theft outright, the best most of us can do is arm ourselves with identity theft protection services.
ID Theft by the Numbers
Statistics on identity theft are easy enough to come by. One source is the National Council on Identity Theft Protection. Their most recent stats just about say it all:
- Identity theft in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 2019
- 1.4 million ID theft cases were reported to the FTC in 2022
- 5.7 million total fraud cases were also reported in 2022
- Losses from ID theft in 2022 reached approximately $5.8 billion.
The top three categories under which fraud cases reported to the FTC fall are, in order of frequency:
- Identity theft
- Impostor scams
- Scams involving credit bureaus, information providers, and report users.
Identity Thieves Are Everywhere
Making matters worse is the fact that identity thieves are literally everywhere. They do not limit their actions to only certain geographic locations. They don’t target just one type of consumer. Thieves will steal identities wherever and whenever possible. So what can consumers do about it?
The first and most important thing is to learn how to lock down their identities and keep them locked. After that, investing in identity theft protection service is wise. Identity theft protection utilizes a number of tools to protect consumers, including:
- Credit report monitoring
- Dark web monitoring
- Suspicious activity alerts
- Credit restoration services
- ID theft insurance.
In a recent blog post encouraging brokers to push identity theft protection as an employee benefit, Dallas-based BenefitMall explained ID theft insurance as a type of insurance that pays a financial benefit in the event a person is victimized by identity thieves. The payment covers financial losses resulting from the theft, including costs incurred in the process of restoring the victim’s credit.
Identity Theft Protection as a Benefit
BenefitMall wants its brokers to encourage employers to consider offering identity theft as a voluntary employee benefit. They aren’t alone. ID theft protection is among a number of new voluntary benefits younger employees are asking for. They understand the seriousness of the problem. They also understand that theft protection services might be their best defense against what amounts to a serious digital crime.
Perhaps you get identity theft protection through your employer. If not, have you arranged for your own services? Kudos to you if you have. But if not, we go back to the original premise of this post: not having identity theft protection is like playing with fire. It’s only a matter of time before you get burned badly.
The fact is that the best cybersecurity measures in the world haven’t been able to stop identity theft. Until we figure out how to do just that, consumers have to take responsibility for themselves. That includes locking down sensitive data, using digital devices more responsibly, and paying for identity theft protection and restoration services. We just cannot compromise here.