The number of identity theft victims grew from 11.6 million in 2011 to 12.6 million last year, according to Steven D. Bearak, the CEO of Identity Force, a provider of identity theft protection, who told advisors in a Web conference Thursday that they are in a unique position to help clients fight off these violations to their personal and financial security.
This sort of crime, the fastest growing in the United States, is a global epidemic now, Bearak told advisors during the Web conference, hosted by FiPath4Advisors.
Advisors, he said, can help by getting clients credit card protection and privacy controls, either as free or discounted services. Even simply giving clients helpful tips in a newsletter can add value to an advisor's services, Bearak said.
Among other helpful defensive measures, clients can get their credit scores from each of the three credit bureaus once a year, get a statement of health and Social Security benefits once a year and watch bills and credit card statements closely to make sure they are accurate.
“Identity theft protection needs to be part of what an advisor offers a client today,” said Bearak.