Identity Theft: What to Do if It Happens to You


Fact Sheet 17aIdentity Theft:
What to Do if It Happens to You

Frequently Asked Questions about Identity Theft


Fact Sheet 17dFrequently Asked Questions about Identity Theft

Identity Theft Monitoring Services


Fact Sheet 33Identity Theft Monitoring Services

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about someone becoming a victim of identity theft or learning about another data breach. The exposure of Social Security numbers (SSNs) and other personal information can increase consumers’ susceptibility to identity theft. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s “Chronology of Data Breaches” documents over 230 million records that have been compromised since January 2005. www.privacyrights.org/ar/ChronDataBreaches.htm

Faced with these alarming statistics, many consumers have turned to identity theft or credit monitoring services for protection. Identity theft monitoring services may sound like a good way to protect your good credit and your good name. However, many of these services are overpriced and are not worth the money that they cost.

How to Choose an Identity Theft Monitoring Service


If you’re thinking about purchasing identity theft monitoring services, there is now a “shopping guide” that will help you choose the best service for you. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) participated in a task force hosted by the Consumer Federation of America to develop a set of guidelines for the identity theft monitoring industry. Members of the task force, which included industry, consumer, and government representatives, researched the industry for 16 months and recently published Best Practices for Identity Theft Services (PDF). The report provides a blueprint for what identity theft monitoring services should be doing.

CFA Issues Best Practices for Identity Theft Services


On Thursday, March 10, 2011 the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released Best Practices for Identity Theft Services (PDF) to address consumer concern about misleading marketing and exaggerated protection guarantees. Identity theft services typically monitor individuals’ credit reports for any activity, including inquiries and new accounts, and monitor public records for postings such as liens and judgments. Anomalies could be a sign that the individual is a victim of identity theft. The best practices are the result of 16 months of research and discussion by a multi-stakeholder task force that included Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) along with other consumer advocates and representatives of industry and government.

LifeLock Customers to Receive Refunds


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that customers of LifeLock's identity theft protection services will be receiving refunds as part of a settlement with the company. Since 2006, LifeLock has advertised that it could prevent identity theft for consumers willing to sign up for its $10-a-month service. However, the fraud alerts that LifeLock placed on its customers’ credit files protected only against certain forms of identity theft. Yesterday’s FTC announcement about LifeLock confirms that consumers should use caution and common sense before paying for identity theft monitoring services.

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