Identity obesity-the excessive and inappropriate collection, retention, and sharing of personal information-tends to escalate over time, as people share and mismanage more details about themselves in various places. Like overeating, it can be extremely hard to reverse the effects. This behavior forms the root cause of an identity theft epidemic. Despite the dangers, consumers and companies handle personal information carelessly, without understanding the risks. Consider these startling statistics: - In 2009, more than eleven million people were affected by identity theft, which was a 10 percent increase from 2008. - The majority of victims don't detect identity theft until three months after fraud occurs. It takes some people years to discover that something went wrong. - Stolen wallets and documents account for 43 percent of all identity theft cases, which shows that theft doesn't always involve technology. - In more than 50 percent of all identity theft cases, the victim knows or has done business with the criminal. Businesses will lose millions of dollars a year because of identity theft, and fraud will destroy families and individuals. But you can trim your identity fat with a proven program that allows you to understand risks, identify bad habits, and implement best practices with an Identity Diet.