CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Identity theft and mental health

A non-profit found 16% of identity theft victims considered taking their life rather than try to recover from it
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:00 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:45 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Identity theft can be devastating -- not just on your finances but also on your mental health.

The new, 2023 Consumer Impact Report from the Identity Theft Resource Center says identity theft becomes such a stressful situation that 16% of victims consider taking their life rather than try to recover from it.

People are quoted saying:

“It has devastated my family.”

“I divorced my husband.”

“I have been in therapy for over a year trying to get a better handle on how this happened and how to prevent it again.”

“I do everything differently. This is terrifying as hell.”

We talked with president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a national non-profit. Eva Velasquez says for 20 years they’ve been tracking the impact of identity crime.

“If you’re a victim, I really want to make this very clear, please, please, please do not be ashamed or embarrassed. There is no-cost help available to you. Believe me, ending your life is not an option,” Velasquez said.

This year saw a new high of victims who contacted her organization who said they considered suicide as a result of having their identities misused.

September is Suicide Awareness Month, but it’s an issue we deal with 12 months a year, and help is available 24 hours a day.

The national suicide prevention hotline is 988. Dialing those three numbers puts you in touch with someone willing to listen and who can get you in touch with the resources you need.

The Identity Theft Resource Center also has free help. Their staff is really helpful to walk you through steps, what to do, or if you have a question.