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Identity Theft Myths and Facts

There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about identity theft and protection. Learn the truth about some of the most common identity theft myths.

identity theft myths

Identity theft myths lead people to become content about their level of protection from identity theft. And that’s not good.

You’ve probably taken some measures like updating your privacy settings, signing up for alerts via your credit card or taking extra care with what you reveal about yourself online. But these measures alone aren’t enough. You need complete monitoring that gives you total peace of mind.

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Here are the 10 most common myths about identity theft and the truths behind them.

1. I don’t need monitoring. I’m protected through my credit card alerts.

Fact: This is one of the top identity theft misconceptions. While these alerts notify you of suspicious activity related to a specific card, they can’t do the same for your medical or tax return records. This type of service deals with only one type of fraud rather than all types.

2. The enrollment process takes too long.

Fact: People might think the process of protecting your identity is long and tiring one, like waiting in the doctor’s office. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Enrollment for identity theft protection services like ProtectMyID from AAA and Experian takes less than five minutes, either through the phone or online. Even better? ProtectMyID Essential is free for all AAA members. For extra coverage, you can upgrade to the Deluxe or Platinum level.

3. I was a data breach victim years ago, but I don’t have to worry about my data being stolen now.

Fact: This identity theft myth is rooted in the belief that once thieves take data, they got what they wanted. But, fraud committed based on data that is two to six years old has increased by almost 400 percent over the past four years. Up to $3.7 billion has been stolen as of 2016, according to a 2017 Javelin strategy and research presentation.

4. I don’t know if I can trust a company to monitor my identity.

Fact: Not all identity protection services are alike. For example, Experian is a global leader in cutting-edge credit monitoring and identity security. AAA has partnered with Experian to bring the best-class monitoring product to its members.

5. Even if the service is free, it’s probably free to get you through the door. Then, you have to pay.

Fact: This is not the case with all identity theft monitoring services. ProtectMyID, including the free Essential coverage, is offered by AAA with Experian with no trial period as long as you’re a current AAA member. Plus, you won’t get spammed with a ton of emails when you sign up.

identity theft myths

6. I’m nervous about entering my Social Security number online.

Fact: Experian’s site utilizes state of the art security to encrypt and protect your personal information. Members may also choose to enroll in ProtectMyID via telephone.

7. I have bad credit, so I’m not at risk.

Fact: Identity theft thieves these days are after more than your finances. They also commit medical identity theft and use that identity or those identities to file false insurance claims and buy drugs. It’s important to protect all aspects of your life, not just your finances.

8. I can monitor the accounts myself.

Fact: This identity theft myth is dangerous because it assumes protecting one’s identity is a one person job. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-monitoring is possible with your currently existing accounts. But, thieves also use information they take to create accounts in your name with different post office boxes or addresses. You could have accounts that not even you know about.

9. I’m extremely careful with my information. Identity theft will never happen to me.

Fact: As with the previous myth, this misconception about identity theft assumes that protecting one’s identity is a one-person job. But, identity theft is currently the fastest growing crime in the United States. In 2017, there were 16.7 million identity theft victims in the US. This is up 8 percent from 2016 per Javelin Strategy and Research. On top of that, this trend is projected to be even worse in the future.

10. Identity theft happens to only adults, not kids.

Fact: Children are just as vulnerable to identity theft as adults, if not more so. In fact, identity fraud impacted one million children in 2017. Child identity theft is also one of the fastest growing crime areas in relation to credit fraud, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. If you haven’t talked with your kids about identity theft, now would be a good time to do so. Click here for seven simple ways you can protect your child from identity fraud.

Identity theft and fraud can be annoying or frightening to experience. But, with the right fraud and theft protection, you can be rest assured that you’ll be kept safe.

Have you or someone you know experienced identity theft? What steps have you taken to protect your identity? Let us know in the comments!

Learn more about how Experian’s ProtectMyID Essential can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for.

Comments
  • Linda C.

    I have life lock and it’s the best money I spend each yr. in fact, I had a sales person in my kitchen recently so I could purchase to replacement windows. Not 2 minutes after he entered my info and Lifelock was sending me an alert. I also have credit karma so I got alerts from 2 sources. I will look into your protect id, thanks.

    • Dana L.

      Hi Linda!

      ProtectMyID is a free identity theft protection offered to AAA members. You can find out more by clicking here or by calling 877-440-6943.

      -Dana

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