Researchers Say Identity Theft Has Lasting Psychological Effects

Identity theft victims don’t need Jessica Van Vliet, an assistant professor in counseling psychology at the University of Alberta, to tell them that they no longer feel safe when conducting everyday financial transactions, which most of us take for granted. But she did a study highlighting a fact that many of us in the industry have already known: identity theft makes a mess out of your life. reports, “Van Vliet recently conducted an exploratory study on the experiences of individuals who were victims of identity theft. Participants who recounted their experience during in-depth research interviews expressed a pervasive sense of vulnerability each time they use a credit card or a bank machine. Some participants also felt like they were being treated as criminals when they attempted to clear their names.”

Most of the identity theft victims felt they had been taking appropriate precautions to safeguard their personal information, and had no idea how their data fell into the wrong hands. The lack of specifics makes it difficult for victims to attain any closure and move forward. “No matter how well they monitor their financial records for the rest of their lives, they may still feel vulnerable,” Van Vliet says.

I’ve lost count of how many frantic emails and phone calls I’ve received from identity theft victims. These are people who have done all the right things to maintain a respectable position in society, only to be brought down by a vicious identity thief.

Over and over again I have stressed the importance of being proactive. You don’t want this happening to you. McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information, as well as access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers resolve identity theft issues. For additional tips, please visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him explain how a person becomes an identity theft victim on (Disclosures)

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