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Guest post by Amanda Moore
How to Deal with Trauma After Identity Theft
When considering the ill effects of identity theft, most people think about money loss and credit score damage. However, the intensity of having one’s identity stolen can bring about other problems, particularly an emotional fallout.
Dealing with identity theft can be a very traumatic experience, especially for victims who knew their impersonator, or dealt with major consequences as a result.
Though the trauma associated with identity theft can be terrible, there is hope. In the aftermath of a scam, there are many ways that victims of identity fraud can process the emotional toll it’s taken and eventually move on in a healthy manner.
Shake the Shame
Many victims of identity theft struggle with feelings of embarrassment or shame after an already traumatizing experience. The result can be very destabilizing or isolating. Many people beat themselves up for not noticing red flags, like suspicious mail or dodgy phone calls.
Others have had to reckon with the additional horrors of having their identity stolen by somebody they know and thought they could trust— that betrayal adds a new layer of trauma to the situation and often leaves the victim feeling ashamed, though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
If you are dealing with feelings of shame or embarrassment after undergoing identity theft, you are not alone. It’s important to try and remind yourself that what happened to you was not your fault and is not a reflection on you, your business, or your family.
Reach out to Others
During a difficult time, speaking to somebody else can be crucial towards healing. If you’re struggling with the emotional fallout of identity theft, reach out to somebody, whether it’s a friend, partner, family member, trusted colleague, or even an internet stranger who’s been through something similar. Though they won’t be able to change your circumstances, they will hopefully be able to offer emotional support and a sympathetic ear as you try to process what’s happened.
Seek Professional Help
If the recent events in your life have caused your mental health to deteriorate, there’s no reason for you to suffer in silence. A mental health professional will be able to help you cope with the trauma you’ve experienced as an identity theft victim and can assist you in finding the tools that you need to move on from the experience.
Tell Your Story
Do you ever find yourself wishing that someone had warned you about some of the common red flags of identity theft? You can be that person for somebody else— and it could make a real difference in their lives. It might take time to get to a place where speaking about your identity theft is not painful, but it will happen. When you’re ready to talk about it, speak up about what happened to you.
Let others know how a thief procured your information, what sort of suspicious signs came from it, and what the consequences were. By sharing your experience with others, you are helping to spread the word about identity theft and enabling more people to protect themselves against what you’ve been through. Reliving the experience may be difficult, but helping others avoid going through what you have will likely make it worth it.
Stay Protected for the Future
Unfortunately, identity theft is not like lightning— it most certainly can strike the same place twice. Though we’d love to tell you that you’re now immune to scams, this isn’t the case. In fact, some opportunistic phishers even manage to steal money and information by convincing victims that they’ve had their identity stolen.
The victim, who has been through it already, panics into giving the thief their information. To avoid a situation like this, stay vigilant. Don’t ever give your information away to anybody who hasn’t proven themselves 100% trustworthy. Keep on the lookout for any red flags, and keep up to date with any current scams that have been circulating the US. Monitor your credit score, and be sure that your sensitive documents and information are always on lock down.
We don’t often realize how much a life event like this can affect us. These are some great tips to implement if you’ve experienced the trauma of identity theft. Fortunately, it is possible to rebuild and get your peace of mind back.