Re-victimization and Identity Theft
As if it’s not bad enough to suffer from the effects of having your identity stolen, in a number of cases throughout the country some victims are revictimized. Unfortunately, as difficult as it is to correct the problems of identity theft, those who have had their identity stolen more than once often endure constant and never-ending problems that are caused by the thieves who use their names and credit.
Re-victimization: What is It?
Whether you have had your identity stolen or not, most people assume that once they are able to restore their credit to good graces, their problems are over. The problem is that the chance that your identity could be stolen again is good. After all, once a thief is able to get the information that allows him to steal your identity, this information is also available to anyone who decides to do the same thing. This problem causes the victim of multiple incidents of identity theft to readdress the problem along the same course as they did in the first instance. This problem is known as “chronic identity theft.”
Re-victimization: Who Does It?
In a nutshell, victims are revictimized by the same types of people who succeeded in the first instance. This is not to say that victims are scammed by the exact same thief. In most cases, the actual thief might use the data to their own advantage until the theft is uncovered or is under threat to be uncovered. At this point the thief will move on to another victim. Once the identity information is made available, however, many potential thieves are likely to use it. This not only begins the theft process again, but in an entirely new area of the country or even the world.
What’s the Good News?
The good news in all of this is the fact that once a victim has made a theft known, most agencies will continue to watch the account for an indefinite period of time. This is done not only to protect further damage to the victim’s identity, but also makes the effort to catch the thief easier. It is also important to understand that once a person has been victimized, not only do they know the process to correct their record, but they are more easily able to make the corrections in subsequent cases.
A few minor changes in the way a victim lives and conducts their personal business can substantially reduce the chances of them being revictimized. In fact, once a person is victimized, they usually become hyper-vigilant of their financial life. For example, many victims begin shredding documents. Locking mailboxes also helps to prevent the theft of sensitive account information. Stopping mail delivery service while a person is on vacation is another important step. Finally, not carrying credit cards and other information on their person when they will not be needed is also a good preventative measure.
Identity theft most often happens when a victim lets their guard down. The solution? Keep your guard up.