It’s just human nature: you hear about the same negative thing often enough for long enough, you’ll start to become a little numb to it. You may even check out entirely. And identity theft certainly crossed over into “Things We’re Tired of Hearing About” territory quite some time ago.
However, that doesn’t mean it has gone away. Identity theft is still happening to millions of people every year, and if anything, the thieves are becoming more sophisticated.
Some of the best ways to protect yourself have been written about thousands of times. Use a crosscut shredder to destroy documents containing personal information. Don’t click on links in an unexpected email, and completely ignore any email that says “click here to re-activate your card.” Use strong passwords, and never reuse them across different sites. Freeze your credit, then temporarily lift the freezes any time you need to apply for a loan or a credit card.
There are also some ways to protect yourself that don’t get as much attention (yet). If an account gives you the option of using Two-Factor Authentication, take that option. Beware of unfamiliar phone numbers that share the first six digits of your phone number. If a financial account allows you to set up alerts via text message or email, do it.
In any case, don’t become desensitized to information about identity theft just because you’ve heard about it a million times before. There might be a new threat, or a new twist on an old threat, or a reminder about a good habit you’ve let slip. And even if it is old news to you, remember that nobody is ever 100% safe from identity crime. Keep that in the back of your mind during any interaction where personal information is involved.