Supersedes Working Paper 16-27 - Identity Theft as a Teachable Moment 

Using a unique data set of consumer credit records and alerts indicating identity theft and the exogenous timing of victimization, we show that the immediate effects of fraud on credit files are typically negative, small, and transitory. After those immediate effects fade, identity theft victims experience persistent, positive changes in credit characteristics, including improved Risk Scores. Consumers also exhibit caution with credit by having fewer open revolving accounts while maintaining total balances and credit limits. Our results are consistent with consumer inattention to credit reports prior to identity theft and reduced trust in credit card markets after identity theft.