In a world where credit bureaus update over 1 billion accounts each month, and handle more than 600 million credit files, is it any wonder that 1 in 5 consumer credit reports contain errors? And that’s not all. According to the latest online survey (Harris Poll 2018) nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft to date. Statistically speaking, the need for credit monitoring services has never been greater. Considering the importance of maintaining a good credit rating for purchases, employment, and insurance, why wouldn’t you explore credit monitoring?
Choosing The Best Credit Monitoring Service
Learning what to look for in a credit monitoring company is an important first step toward ensuring your credit accounts are accurate and your personal information is secure. While many companies offer a variety of services and monitoring packages, there a few basic things that a good service will offer.
1. Monitoring of all three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. It doesn’t do much good to pay for single service credit monitoring if your lender only reports information to the other two.
2. Round-the-clock monitoring, 365 days a year. Thieves don’t take the day off and neither should your credit monitoring service.
3. Immediate alerts that indicate unusual changes in your credit profile and breaches of security in accounts. If someone opens an account using your Social Security number, you’d better know about it immediately, or untangling the mess they make could take months or years. While the majority of consumers are not generally held responsible for debt procured through false or fraudulent means by another, the time it takes to resolve these situations and the stress and inaccessibility to accounts can be taxing.
4. Monitoring of inactive credit accounts. These are some of the most vulnerable credit accounts since thieves reason that consumers will be less likely to check monthly statements. Most of us never think of “zero balance” credit card accounts that have gone dormant over time, but a good credit monitoring service should.
5. Monitoring sites that may contain personal consumer information such as public records, search engines, and directories. These are treasure troves of information for people looking to make large purchases quickly using fake identification and credit cards.
6. Detecting inaccurate information added to your credit profile by mistake. Many of us don’t discover these things until we apply for credit and are denied. A credit profile that contains erroneous creditor information that an account was paid late will certainly affect the ability of the consumer to borrow money.
With five percent of consumer credit reports inaccurate enough to affect interest rates on credit, why take the chance that one of them could be yours? Only credit monitoring services can check your credit profile daily to ensure the information that represents you is accurate and without compromise.
Don’t Let These 6 Credit Reporting Myths Prevent You from Protecting Yourself & Your Good Name
Credit monitoring is one of the most misunderstood areas of consumer credit management. Many people don’t realize both the benefits and the limitations of credit monitoring services. Each of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion offer monitoring services on consumer credit reports, as well as private credit monitoring companies. With so much misinformation available about credit monitoring services and products, it’s important to learn the truth about this area of personal finance.
Myth #1 – Credit monitoring services are only for people with excellent credit.
Many people assume that credit monitoring is unnecessary if they have less than desirable credit. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Regardless of your credit standing and scores, identity protection is important. Identity thieves preying on innocent victims don’t know what your credit scores are with each of the three credit bureaus or credit report agencies. They only know they’ve got your personal information and are ready to use it.
Myth #2 – Monitoring my own credit is just as good as a credit monitoring service.
Professional credit monitoring services monitor your credit 365 days a year, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0235-identity-theft-protection-services. Thieves don’t take a vacation and neither does your credit monitoring service. While monitoring your credit report for changes is advisable, without a monitoring service, you may not catch errors or criminal activity on credit reports immediately after your credit has been breached.
Myth #3 – Monitoring services for credit protection aren’t worth the cost.
While monitoring companies do charge fees for their services consider the cost of placing a credit freeze on your reports through all 3 credit bureaus. Each time you request a freeze the charge is approximately $10.00.This fee is applied to initiate freezes as well as removing them, from each bureau involved. Over time the cost of freezes can be greater than charges for professional credit monitoring services.
Myth #4 – Identity theft insurance covers any type of id theft.
There are some instances where id theft protection may not cover victims. Most companies, for example will not pay claims on identity theft committed by family members. Unfortunately, theft by someone you know, who has access to your account information is very common.
Myth #5 – If I have credit monitoring protection, no one can steal my identity.
Not even the best credit monitoring service or identity monitor can prevent thieves from stealing your personal identifying information or account numbers. Fraudsters find new ways every day to hack accounts and databases throughout the nation, to gain consumer information.
What a monitoring service can do however is alert you immediately to changes in your credit profile unauthorized by you. This saves money and precious time calling credit bureau phone numbers since thieves can’t make purchases once you alert your bank or credit card provider to possible fraud.
Myth #6 – Credit monitoring detects every type of identity theft.
There are a few instances where credit monitoring cannot detect fraudulent use of your personal identifying information. If someone is using your name or Social Security number to sign up for cell phone service for example, the provider may not run a credit check on you which would trigger a fraud alert.
Understanding the importance of protecting your credit reputation and personal identity is critical to managing your finances. Choosing the right monitoring services and products can save you time and money spent resolving credit report inaccuracies and personal identity fraud. The more you learn about credit protection and the freedom credit monitoring affords, the more you’ll be better informed to make the best decisions for your financial future.