|San Diego, CA ' Veterans and
active duty servicemembers whose personal information may have
been stolen are being offered a salve ' credit monitoring - which
is a feel good response, but provides a false sense of security.
When it comes to identity theft prevention measures, relying on
credit monitoring is similar to placing only one smoke detector in
a three story home.
The San Diego based Institute of Consumer Financial Education
(ICFE), which certifies credit report reviewers and identity theft
risk management specialists, cautions potential victims to
carefully review and understand the limitations of credit
monitoring. Credit monitoring will not alert the consumer if
someone has obtained a driver's license, birth certificate, Social
Security card, or used their name during interactions with law
enforcement, resulting in arrest warrants or erroneous criminal
Most credit monitoring services only monitor one bureau. Some
provide an initial three-bureau report on the first order, and
then revert to monitoring only one. Many creditors report to the
bureaus only once a-month or quarterly. In cases involving utility
accounts, it may never be reported until after it has been sent to
collections. With very rare exceptions, credit monitoring does not
monitor specialty-reporting companies or check verification
Credit monitoring will not report to the victim in a timely
fashion, if at all, when an identity thief has taken a job using
the victim's name and Social Security number -- in some States,
this type of employment fraud approaches one-third of all identity
theft cases -- and causes significant financial cost, unexpected
tax consequences, and embarrassment to the victim.
ICFE urges 'opting-out' of pre-screened credit offers, placing
'Fraud Alerts' on credit files, and instituting a credit 'Freeze'
where available. Fraud alerts are temporary (90-day) intended to
alert potential credit issuers the consumer is or may be a victim
of fraud. Credit freezes prevents most third parties from
accessing the consumer's credit file.
States permitting all consumers to request a credit file freeze are
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia,
Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland,
Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
States permitting only identity theft victims with a police report to
freeze credit files are: Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Washington.
For more information about states with credit freezes and also how to get
a freeze initiated in your state,
For More Information contact:
Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Executive Director
Paul S. Richard at: (619) 239-1401
Credit File Correction Guide", Copyright 2007.
All Rights Reserved by Paul S. Richard. PO Box 34070. San Diego, CA.
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