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February 27, 2022

Fears of someone stealing your identity overblown: report

Something many of us don't consider until it happens to us and we're playing catch up is identity theft. And it does happen, as evidenced by this busy guy from Winnipeg.

But such fears are being hyped by marketers to scare consumers into buying costly services that they really don't need, reports Consumers Union.

"More of these pitches are coming from banks, which account for more than half of the $3.5 billion a year spent on ID-theft protection subscriptions."

"In a sense, consumers who buy this protection from their banks are helping to foot the bill for services that financial institutions are obligated to provide by federal law to shield their customers from losses stemming from credit-card and bank-account fraud, says the Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

More than 80 per cent of what’s been called identity theft involves fraudulent charges on existing accounts, but in most cases a cardholder’s liability is limited to $50 for a lost or stolen credit card. So, in that case, you're likely ok.

Plus, there are plenty of free services that will help protect you, or at least sound an alert, if something’s going wrong with your accounts, counters the New York Times.

Has someone stolen your identity? Did you have identity theft coverage? Worthwhile? Loopholes?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...