As far as identity theft goes, credit fraud is one of the most scary and damaging things that a person can deal with. Often, credit card fraud is able to happen for long periods of time without detection, meaning that by the time victims know that something is wrong, it's often much too late to stop a lot of it from going on. Credit fraud can be reversed after it is noticed, but it takes time and effort on the part of many people. This crime can happen to anyone, and has the potential to happen at any time... making it dangerous and quite hard to pinpoint. Luckily for consumers, there are many methods that can be used to find and stop credit fraud almost as soon as it begins happening.
Credit Monitoring Service
Just as the name implies, this type of service is used by people that want to keep a closer eye on their financial transactions and accounts. These services are used to monitor for identity theft by searching through accounts and information on a constant basis, looking for specific types of transactions and happenings that can be indicative of identity theft. These programs rely on past information - both from current users and from those whose accounts have already been compromised - in order to pinpoint things that could be signs of identity theft. After these are noticed, reports are emailed back to users, giving them the chance to look through their own accounts and make the necessary calls or take the next steps. With these notifications, people will know almost immediately that something is happening, and if it should not be, it can be stopped.
How does credit fraud impact the lives of individuals?
A scary crime, credit fraud can be quite damaging to victims. Accounts can be drained, cards can be opened under false pretenses and huge debts can be charged to them, purchases can be made and then ignored, leading to past due balances and declining credit scores... all of this can happen right under people's noses because some crafty thief was able to get into an account or a piece of information that they should not have had. As long as these crimes are noticed, they can be fixed... but this can take some time. Sure, as soon as they are alerted, financial institutions can put holds and stopped payments on cards, but if previous charges were made, they will take time to undo. During this period, people may be low on money while they are waiting for refunds, be denied applications for credit, thus not allowing them to pay for things like bills, trips and necessities. Also, a lowered credit score will not be repaired overnight- and anyone that ran a credit check during the period of theft will need to be contacted in order to ensure them that the actual individual did not have bad credit - that it was a thief that did the true damage.