How Much Will ID Theft Cost Me?
Identity theft can either cost victims very little money or a significant amount, depending on how quickly the victim takes measures to recover their identity and report any compromised accounts. Liability and charges are limited if victims report any suspicious activity in a timely manner. However, the monetary, practical and emotional costs of identity theft can be limitless. Below gives information on what victims are liable for depending on when they report the incidents as well as statistics:
If victims report their stolen credit cards before they have been used, the credit card issuers are not allowed to hold them responsible for any unauthorized charges. However, if a credit card is fraudulently used before is it reported, then the victim is liable up to $50.00, even if thieves obtain cash advances from an ATM.
Because credit card theft liability is only $50.00, victims should not sign up for any credit card loss protection services – these are unnecessary, and a waste of money. Do not listen to the advice of any telemarketers. When in doubt, the official credit card company should be contacted and asked about their credit card theft policies.
Debit cards do not have a fixed victim liability amount as credit cards do. Instead, the amount that the victim is liable for depends on when they report the loss. If a victim reports an ATM or debit card as lost or stolen before it is fraudulently used, then their financial institution cannot hold them responsible for any subsequent charges.
If a victim reports their debit or ATM card within two days of discovering the theft or loss, they are only responsible for $50.00, and if the cards are reported after two days but within 60 days of proof of an unauthorized withdrawal, then the victim is liable for up to $500.00 of what is illegally withdrawn. Finally, if a victim waits more than 60 days to report a loss or theft, they could potentially lose all of their money that was fraudulently withdrawn from the end of the 60 days to when the card is finally reported.
The bank is typically responsible for any losses incurred from a forged check. However, victims should consult their state laws on the exact liability each party has. Victims may be held responsible if the bank is not notified promptly of the forgery, or if a victim does not monitor their account statements on a regular basis. Victims need to report any unauthorized bank transactions immediately to prevent liability. All major check verification companies should also be contacted, and victims should request that retailers be notified of their stolen checks. Once all retailers have been informed, they should not accept any lost or stolen checks that have been reported.
Monetary, Practical and Emotional Costs of Identity Theft
The monetary costs of identity theft can be quite hefty. In fact, victims of identity theft lose an average of $2,000 to 15,000 in wages trying to deal with their cases. This is because victims spend between a day and 9 months trying to repair the financial damage caused by identity thieves, and some even spend up to a year trying to deal with their cases. On average, victims spend between $850 to $1400 in expenses related to their cases, which includes paperwork and any other legal fees.
As a result of identity theft, nearly half of all identity theft victims have difficulties obtaining credit and loans, and roughly 1/5 of victims have higher credit interest rates. Over 2/3 of victims have difficulties removing negative information from their credit scores.
The psychological impact of identity theft is also extensive on both the victims and their families. Victims oftentimes experience anger, anxiety, and depression as a result of losing their finances. Nearly half of all victims experience denial, disbelief, feel filed, and develop an inability to trust others, and over half feel unprotected by the police as well as experience rage.
In order for identity theft victims to limit their liability if their checks, credit cards or debit cards are stolen, all companies and banks need to be notified immediately. Victims are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their financial institutions’ theft policies and follow them accordingly. It is important for all individuals, whether they are victims of identity theft or not, to keep a watchful eye over their financial accounts, and know where their credit and debit cards, as well as checkbooks, are at all times in order to avoid any monetary, practical and emotional costs of identity theft.