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How Good Are You At Protecting Your Identity?

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People who become victims of identity theft are not just negatively impacted by the funds stolen from them. The compromise of confidential, personally identifiable information (PII) can pose problems for individuals long after the initial incident occurs. Some statistics indicate that clearing someone’s credit standing after identity theft can take an average of six months. Even worse, there are reports of incidents where individuals have had bad transactions on their credit report for years.

The impact of identity theft depends on what a fraudster does with a stolen identity. At times, they open new accounts, credit cards and other loans in a victim’s name, and other times simply take over the person’s existing accounts. Further, these scammers have been known to take advantage of health insurance, tax refunds, or even sell a home without the legitimate owner being aware.

Recognizing such risks, taking extra steps in everyday activity to reduce the chances of exposing your PII is well worth the time. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a self-check where you can grade yourself on the safety of your habits. Click here to test yourself.

The CFPB encourages everyone to take this test, consider what they have learned, and consider which actions from the test could be applied regularly to better protect your identity.


This article is partially drawn from Money Smart for Older Adults – A Resource Guide from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).