Report indicates identity theft affects millions, costs billions

Though several safety measures have been employed to reduce identity theft, it still remains something millions of Americans have experienced.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 9 million people have reported losses resulting from identity theft at some point in their lives, totaling $50 billion.

"Identity fraud comes in myriad forms, and exposure is broad," said insurance expert Kurt Dettmer. "If you receive mail, surf the net, make purchases or pay bills by phone or online, or interact with anyone who gathers any personal information from you for any reason, you are at risk."

Dettmer continued by listing several tips consumers may want to follow to  limit their exposure. This includes checking credit reports with all three agencies to make sure there aren't any discrepancies and only taking credit cards on shopping excursions that are used regularly. Should consumers' wallets or purses be stolen, the damage will be significantly less if one credit card was inside as opposed to two or three.

The consequences of identity theft can leave consumers with bad credit. Consulting with a credit attorney may help consumers get their scores back on the right track.