Nearly 13 million U.S. consumers were victimized by identity thieves at a cost of $16 billion in 2014. According to a report by
Javelin Research, while those numbers actually represent a slight improvement over the previous year, identity theft remains rampant and widespread. Hackers, phishers, snoops and other fraudsters are working overtime to devise new scams and ploys-but you don't have to be a victim. Here are some steps you can take to protect your identity and information…
How identity theft can impact your life
In most cases, identity theft is more of a headache than a major financial loss. While falsified charges of $10,000 and more aren't unheard of, most losses are much smaller. But that isn't to downplay the endless hours victims must often spend repairing their credit standing and reestablishing their financial relationships. A
study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of self-reported financial fraud victims experience at least one serious non-financial repercussion, such as severe stress, anxiety, sleep disorders and depression.
Could you be liable for fraudulent charges?
It depends. According to an
article in MarketWatch, as a rule, your liability for credit card fraud will generally be capped at $50. However, the process of establishing your innocence and repairing the damage to your reputation can be long and arduous. A
report out of the office of the Attorney General of Vermont, said on average, identity theft victims spend 158 hours working to clear their names. What's more, if your medical records are compromised, the financial cost can be considerable. According to a study by the
Medical Identity Theft Alliance, more than 60 percent of medical fraud victims wound up paying an average of $13,500 to straighten things out.
Why is it so difficult to recover from identity theft?
One reason is that victims usually don't realize what's happened for several months. By the time they catch on, there are bills in their name that are months past due. While you can recover eventually, you're likely to find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a loan or credit approval in the interim. Many
recovery experts suggest waiting an additional six months before applying for loans or a new credit card.
Steering clear of identity thieves
CIT Bank takes customer security very seriously and employs a range of advanced authentication processes, firewalls, anti-virus protection and encryption blocks to keep your assets, information and identity safe. At the same time, there are
steps you can take to protect yourself from identity fraud and theft:
CIT Bank offers a variety of savings options designed to help customers achieve their financial goals. CIT Bank's educational resources -
EDU - helps consumers get the information and facts they need to make informed financial decisions.
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