Report: Identity theft victims are vulnerable to mental health issues

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – Attorney General Todd Rokita is warning Hoosiers of the risk of identity theft victims developing a range of mental illnesses after scammers target and steal their money.

Identity theft is a constant threat to all Americans. In 2020, nearly 50% of the country was financially harmed by identity theft, according to a study done by the Aite Group.

“In today’s world, we are tied to technology, whether it’s our phones or our computers, and we often feel obligated to stay connected and respond to anyone and everyone who reaches out,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Most people can detect a fraudster when they are face-to-face, but it’s easy to fall victim to identity theft when you’re pressured over the phone or email. What is not recognized often enough is that this is an emotional rollercoaster for people, and it can result in depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.”

Injured parties often experience fear, exhaustion, and anger. When people have the stress of financial loss combined with these feelings, long-lasting mental health conditions are more likely to arise if left untreated.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans’ reported losses from identity theft grew from $3.3 billion in 2020 to $5.8 billion in 2021. This creates an even larger pool of victims at risk of developing mental illness.

Attorney General Todd Rokita warns Hoosiers of the following red flags that could lead to identity theft:

Stolen checks, credit cards, or debit cards
Unfamiliar online purchases on financial statements
Mysterious medical charges
Emails asking for personal information
Phone calls or text messages seeking credit card or bank account information
Scammers using computer programs that track your personal information
Scammers digging through household trash to find private information.

If you believe you have encountered identity theft, please visit www.IndianaConsumer.com.

If signs of anxiety, depression, or any other form of mental illness develop, contact a physician immediately or click here.