Approximately 15 million U.S. residents are victims of identity theft each year, with financial losses totaling as high as $50 billion, reports. These are staggering numbers, but as technology advances, so do the tools and means for identity theft to take place.

There are some things that can change you for the rest of your life — identity theft is one of those things. But, if you’re a victim, you can turn this difficult situation into something that can be used as a springboard for positive changes in your life.

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is defined as the illegal acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information, usually for financial gain. There are several different scenarios in which this can happen. Sometimes, it even happens to children who don’t become aware of it until they become adults and try to seek credit for themselves or undergo a background check when they try to find a job.

Identity theft is someone pretending to be you or using your name and personal information for their own personal gain. It can cause you to feel unsafe and vulnerable. Being a victim can impact self-esteem, self-confidence and even mental health.

While being a victim of identity theft can be emotionally painful and frustrating, it can also be a catalyst for personal transformation.

How Can It Change You?

Being a victim of identity theft can help you to improve self-awareness. At first, you may feel betrayed or violated, and with good reason. The emotional pain from identity theft can be compounded if someone you know is personally involved. You may feel like the very essence of who you are has been violated.

Even the process of correcting and stopping an identity theft situation feels intrusive. You will need to file reports, providing a lot of personal information about yourself, at a time when you are already feeling vulnerable. Investigators may have to dig into many of your private details and accounts.

Despite the negative that can come from a situation like this, some people use it as a driving force to a fresh start of being a better person.

Personal Transformation and Progression

The effects of identity theft can obviously have a significant and permanent impact on your life and personal development. But you can use this as an opportunity to explore areas to develop talents and potential. You can rise, like the phoenix from the ashes, and grow, using a negative experience to create something even better.

It can help you learn to:

  • Protect yourself from future victimization
  • Take control of a negative situation in your life
  • Become empowered to change your life

This is also a chance to build capital and facilitate financial stability. You can work with an expert to help you repair from the identity theft and get your life not only back on track, but on a better track than it was before the incident occurred.

When you don’t have clarity on what you should do next in your life, it might just inspire you to explore something new. After going through a negative experience such as identity theft, you can hit the proverbial “reset” button and start over. This can be the stepping stone to a new path in your life.