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Identity theft victims report long-lasting physical and emotional problems, ITRC says

Alina BÎZGĂ

September 29, 2022

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Identity theft victims report long-lasting physical and emotional problems, ITRC says

Identity theft victims can experience a host of emotional reactions when dealing with fraud and other related crimes. According to the 2022 Identity theft Resource Center (ITRC) Consumer Impact Report, more and more victims report suffering from negative feelings or emotions following identity theft.

Eighty-seven percent of surveyed victims report emotional distress on multiple levels, including:

  • Feeling worried or anxious (80%)
  • Feeling violated (74%)
  • Feeling angry (72%)
  • Feeling depressed (49%)

The latest analysis also sheds light on the physical toll on identity theft victims. In the wake of identity theft, 68% of respondents also reported physical issues including:

  • Sleep problems (92%)
  • Stress (88%)
  • Headaches and other physical pains (42%)
  • Changes in eating and drinking habits (36%)
  • Relapses of unhealthy or addictive behaviors (16%)

Although two-thirds of victims say changes in their mental and physical health had no negative impact at school, work or in their relationships, the ITRC study revealed an 8% year-over-year increase in the number of consumers reporting emotional and physical impacts from identity crimes.

“I almost lost my house and electricity was going to be shut-off,” one victim said. “I do not associate with any people on a personal level at all,” another consumer reported. “I’ve totally isolated myself for over 3 years.”

When asked how long they spent dealing with their most recent identity theft incident, 55% of respondents say their identity issues have not been resolved and are ongoing. Compared to 2021, the agency highlighted an 18% increase in the number of victims who have yet to find a resolution to their identity theft trouble.

Identity theft and social media usage

According to a snap survey of victims who reported account takeover attacks on social media, 70% say that they were permanently locked out of their social media accounts.

Here at the top reports:

  • 87% said their Instagram account was compromised
  • 25% report having their Facebook account hacked
  • 48% said they responded to a link thought to be sent from a friend
  • 22% said they responded to a crypto scam

Seventy-one percent of victims of account takeover on social media also report hackers contacting their friends through their compromised account, while 67% said they noticed continuous activity on their account after being locked out.

The reason, of course, is to disseminate more scams to defraud others.

“They wanted to use my Instagram to tell everyone I had won money so they would get followers or people investing,” one victim explained.

Additionally, 27% of victims reported lost sales revenue due to compromise. As one victim explained: “Lost a business opportunity and he almost took $10,000 from my followers.”

How can Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection help you?

To spend less time monitoring, checking and setting up fraud alerts for your accounts, consider getting Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection (for US consumers only).

Our service safeguards against identity theft-related crimes you might not always recognize, and it includes a comprehensive list of features to monitor and detect suspicious activity on all of your accounts, including:

  • 24/7 data breach monitoring and fraud alerts
  • Continuous monitoring of your identity
  • Social Media identity monitoring for your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts
  • Instant alerts whenever your personal information is at risk
  • Credit monitoring and lost or stolen wallet assistance
  • Restoration services including expert assistance and access to your dedicated resolution specialist
  • Up to $2 million in identity theft insurance to help you cover legal fees and other costs for fixing your identity (depending on chosen plan)

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