Consumers find identity theft protection services reduce the impact of fraud

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I talk and write all the time about identity theft.  I am myself a victim of several rounds of identity theft.  As I was thinking today about the latest poll that shows that identity theft protection services really do lessen the impact of an identity theft, I was reminded of how I felt before I ever had my identity stolen.  I had barely even heard of the crime of identity theft; I had no idea it would happen to me.

And then it happened, and my and perspective changed.  It's hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it, but as with any theft of your property, you feel violated.  It isn't so much what the thief got away with; it's the theft of YOU.  You realize the thief stole more than money or data: he or she stole your peace of mind.  The stress of that can affect your health, your ability to do your job, and even your interpersonal relationships.  If I could avoid having that stress in my life and steer clear of the many frustrations were promised to come with a future incident of fraud, I would.

That's where identity theft protection services really make themselves worth whatever nominal money you pay for them.  They not only help reduce your risk, but they step in when the thieves hit you and restore your accounts, help you recover, and clean up the mess so you don't have to go it alone.  Time is money, and if you have to spend your time cleaning up after an identity theft, you could lose work hours, which means less money in the bank at the end of the month.  These days, that can mean the difference between making it and breaking it.  Identity theft protection services restore your lost peace of mind and could keep you and your family from falling off the deep end.
Just check out these Harris Interactive poll results.

In December 2010, 3,047 people responded to an online survey about identity theft protection services (ITPS).  Slightly less than half of the respondents were subscribers to an identity theft protection service.

72% were satisfied with their identity theft protection service on the basis of the increased peace of mind and convenience provided. When compared with those who do not subscribe to ITPS, the poll found:

•  64% of subscribers are confident in their protection vs. 38% among non-subscribers
•  75% of subscribers agree that ITPS delivers peace of mind, compared to 45% of non-subscribers
•  79% of subscribers agree that ITPS protect their customers from identity theft in ways they cannot do themselves

In addition, ID theft victims who had an identity theft protection service in place at the time their identity was stolen reported spending less time and less money in the process of recovering their stolen identity.  For those who continue to question the value of identity protection services, I would think that these numbers shoot a pretty big hole in their "you can easily recover your identity on your own" outlook.  Subscribers to an ITPS clearly felt better about having someone in their corner, fighting with them to restore their losses.  That's worth a lot.

In case the Harris poll doesn't convince you, the Federal Trade Commission has also just released their 2010 consumer complaint stats showing how identity theft is changing and evolving across the country. 

While credit card fraud is actually down, other much more intrusive categories of theft are on the rise. Government documents and benefits fraud has increased 4 percent since 2008, and my home state of Florida ranked number one in ID theft with the highest per capita rate of reported identity thefts (followed by Arizona and California).

In much the same way that medical researchers seek out breakthroughs in treatment that will help patients avoid falling sick and shorten their recovery time if they do, ID theft protection is always evolving newer, more high-tech ways to reduce the risk of identity theft and lighten the heavy burden that falls on your shoulders if ID theft happens to you. Just as we can't predict when an illness will wreak havoc in our lives, we can't predict if and when an identity theft will rob us of our time, money, and peace of mind.  All we can do is prepare as best we can.  And that means taking a serious look at identity theft today, and the latest identity theft protection services. If not now: when?

For more info on identity theft review a few of the many earlier blogs, and review the below categories.

 How it occurs.
 Types of Identity theft
 Scams & Hoaxes
 Types of Protection
 I am a Victim

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