What is the real cost of identity theft? It goes beyond just financial loss. In the past, identity theft happened when someone stole your wallet or picked through your trash or your mail. Today’s theft is much more sophisticated. Today, it’s cyber crime, and there are over 1.5 million victims daily. The information targeted is your bank account information, Social Security number, or credit card information. Computers, smart hones, and even hacked ATM machines are sources under attack. Sometimes it is beyond your control. Even big, reliable companies have their systems hacked. Beyond the financial costs, there are legal costs and time needed to restore your good credit. It can take years to recover. In the meantime, your credit rating may be affected, disqualifying you for loans, or your employment may be affected. There are several steps you can take to help protect yourself. You need strong online passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not provide financial information on public networks and use only reliable websites to purchase goods. Early detection is critical, so monitor your financial statements weekly. Freeze accounts if you suspect any irregularity and set up alerts when activity falls outside of set parameters. We can help provide you with resources and guidance so that you can protect your accounts from identity theft.