Emotional impact of ID theft may result in PTSD
Every year there are more statistics released about the aftermath of identity theft, including the average expense ($951) and the time it takes to resolve (165 hours). But those figures oversimplify the experiences of many identity theft victims. The Identity Theft Resource Center’s annual survey of ID theft victims more fully reveals the complete impact of identity theft.
For instance, in more than half of all identity theft instances, arrest warrant were issued in the victims’ names for crimes committed by the thief (56%). Others (57%) ended up with criminal records after their impostor was arrested, booked or arraigned using the stolen identity. (Respondents were able to report more than one category, so total exceeds 100%; and, of course, it makes sense that in many cases a warrant would precede arrest, etc.)
More than two-thirds of ID theft victims were billed for medical services received by the impostor (67%), and 56% were contacted by a billing department or collection agency for the medical bills. Most frightening, 33% discovered another person’s information in their medical records.
And, in the aftermath of identity theft, many victims report lingering emotional effects that approach the clinical definition of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as defined by the DSMIV-TR, the bible of the American Psychiatric Association:
- 14% report physical safety fears
- 63% report feelings of helplessness
- 31% report denial or disbelief
- 27% report feelings of isolation
- 31% reveal inability to trust people
- 40% report sleep disturbances
- 65% report rage or anger
- 27% report inability to concentrate