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News

Present trends in identity theft

LifeLock : 27 February, 2009  (Technical Article)
During National Consumer Protection Week, LifeLock describes the latest trends concerning identity theft
Consumers need to use all the tools available to proactively fight today's creative, technologically-savvy identity thieves. Without the appropriate tools for protecting personal information and keeping it out of criminals' hands, more consumers are likely to join the list of millions of identity theft victims in the United States. National Consumer Protection Week is next week, March 1 - 7, and LifeLock, the industry leader in identity theft protection, is reaching out to consumers across America to educate them on the latest trends experts are seeing, along with how they can best protect their personal information. This information is vitally important during a time when most Americans are particularly concerned with personal finances and not in any position to lose funds they desperately need for survival.

"Consumers need to take action. This is a time for everyone to take a good, hard look at their personal information and everything they are doing that could potentially put them at risk," says Wayne Ivey, a 27-year law enforcement veteran and identity theft victim. "Consumers need to realize that their sensitive personal information is valuable to thieves who are continuously looking for new ways to make a buck. If something seems too good to be true, you can almost guarantee it is, and now is not the time when you want to sit around waiting or believing that nothing will happen to you."

To increase awareness of identity theft during National Consumer Protection Week, LifeLock is presenting some of the most common ways thieves are currently stealing information and taking over identities. The following are some of the top crimes consumers need to be aware of, as well as useful tips that minimize the risk of falling victim to these crimes:

* Tax time trouble - Hopefully hefty tax refunds will bring relief to some after preparing their forms and ideally filing before the April 15 deadline hits. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of taxpayers' information may be intercepted by thieves using file sharing software. Consumers should consider using a proactive protection service such as LifeLock, which is backed up by the company's $1 million service guarantee.

* Scammers going "phishing" again - Experts have recently noticed a sudden influx in "phishing" and "vishing" scams across the nation, which they are attributing to tough economic times. Scam artists target innocent consumers and trick them into believing they are representatives from legitimate companies, and in turn, consumers voluntarily hand over personal information. Legitimate companies should never ask consumers to supply this kind of information over the phone or through email. Any email or phone call that seems fishy probably is and should be reported to local law enforcement.

* Thriving off unemployed - A recent trend shows that while thieves are targeting all consumers, they are especially interested in those on the hunt for jobs; employment scams have been popping up nationwide. Before applying, job seekers should always check into the history of the company with the Better Business Bureau.

* Oops, they did it again - It seems nearly every other day the media reports on local and national companies that have accidentally leaked customers' personal information. Unfortunately, once the cat's out of the bag, it's out, so to speak. However, consumers can take steps to lessen the blow: check bank, credit and other account history regularly, scouring it for any inaccuracies, and immediately cancel any affected accounts.

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