For many consumers, the shock of being a victim of identity theft can temporarily outweigh its consequences, such as the effect it can have on an individual's credit.
There are a few ways that ID theft affects consumer credit
, and it would behoove citizens and businesses alike to understand them. First, one of the primary types of identity theft is fraudulent credit card use, according to Opposing Views. As credit card balances approach their defined limit, this can cause a significant drop in a consumer's credit score. Additionally, if consumers aren't aware that their banking or credit card accounts have been stolen, they can rack up a coterie of late payments that can also negatively affect their credit scores, the website explains. "The identity thief will often crash the consumer's credit score by not making payments on the fraudulent account," Robert Brennan, a consumer law attorney, told Opposing Views. In fact, even minor delinquencies can result in a credit score loss of up to 100 points. To help prevent this, individuals should continue to monitor their bank accounts, as well as take advantage of the three free annual credit reports they're afforded by the federal government.