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Nineteen people fall victim to identity theft every minute, and the ripple effect can be far-reaching. The financial hit you take might be just the beginning, and banks, lenders and businesses are often impacted as well. The longer you wait to take action, the more severe the effects of identity theft may become.

Identity thieves want your money — or, at least, they want merchandise that you’re responsible paying for. Depending on how quickly you react when you first realize your identity has been stolen, some banks will reimburse you for “direct” losses, such as if someone has fraudulently siphoned your checking account. Federal law has your back, too, if a thief uses your debit or ATM card. You're only liable for fraudulent charges if you wait more than 60 days to report the incident.