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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

Credit Monitoring: Thieves Capitalize on Current Events

Those who are intent upon committing identity theft are becoming increasingly savvy in their efforts, which is why some consumers are seeking help from credit monitoring services like Identity Guard®. This type of service watches for and alerts you to any suspicious activity related to your identity.

Phishing Scams: Natural Disasters
Whether it's an earthquake, tsunami, or hurricane, it seems you can always find a natural disaster. And where there's disaster, there are people in need of relief. Sadly though, many crooks will take advantage of the generosity of those who truly want to help the desperate and hurting. Here's how it works:

  1. Natural disaster hits, scores of people are affected and in need of immediate help;
  2. "Charitable" organizations are created;
  3. Donations are collect, though never distributed to those in need.

You may learn of these charities through a phone call or unsolicited email. The point of these communications is to encourage you to give and give now! There's a sense of urgency about the correspondence.

Tip: If you want to give to those in need, choose a well-established organization; one who has a history of using their funds to wisely benefit those in need. These agencies should be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

Phishing Scams: Tax Refunds and the IRS
Every year around tax season, identity thieves use one of their most effective scams to con people out of their identity information. They then use this information to commit identity fraud. These are the times when people find that a credit monitoring service is useful in helping minimize any damage identity criminals may inflict.

Whether you use a monitoring service or not, you'll want to be aware of how this type of phishing scam works.

  1. You receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  2. They claim to need your personal identification information in order to deposit your refund check.
  3. They use the information provided to assume your identity for their personal financial gain.

Repairing the Damage of Identity Fraud
Once your identity information is stolen, it can be sold to others. Those who have your identification information can use it to take out a line of credit, apply for a loan, or even purchase a home in your name. Repairing this type of damage can be costly and time consuming. For some people, the benefit of a credit monitoring service is that they typically work with you to restore your credit and repair the damage done by identity thieves.