There are many counselors suggesting their clients to resort to credit monitoring services in order to fight identity theft. Though such procedure may be a good suggestion, you may wonder whether it's the optimal procedure in your particular case and whether it is worth the money it cost. Let's analyze its benefits and drawbacks and what other alternatives you may have.
Credit monitoring is the key to avoiding identity theft; yet, it is not the only measure you can take in order to impede unscrupulous people from obtaining your credit details and social security number to use them for their advantage. There are other things you can do to reduce the risk of being a victim of identity theft and you can even monitor your credit yourself without hiring third party services.
Credit Monitoring Services Explained
A credit monitoring service provides you with updated information as regards to any access to your credit report. Whenever your credit report is pulled, you'll receive an alert stating why and by whom was it pulled. Thus, you'll be able to know immediately if your credit report was pulled with or without your authorization and how does that affect your credit score and history.
Any new account or credit line opened will immediately pop up and you'll be notified. Thus, you'll know right away if someone is using your name for illegal activities. This is very important because not only your credit can be affected by these practices, you may also have legal problems due to it which can turn out too costly and you can easily avoid them by using such services.
Finally, all other information included in your credit report is monitored, which implies that if any detail is changed for whatever purpose, you'll be immediately notified so you can analyze whether it is a result of your actions or if there is someone else acting in your name. This lets you act immediately and take the necessary measures to avoid damage to your credit and assets.
Protecting Your Credit And Monitoring It Yourself
In order to protect your credit and identity, you need to be specially careful as to where you use your personal information like your full name, social security number, etc. This information should only be used and known by you unless needed otherwise due to justified reasons. If you need to use this information online, make sure the site is secure and if you doubt, ask for references before submitting such information.
The same goes to other critical details like credit card numbers, bank account numbers and codes, etc. Should you be asked by representatives for that information, make sure that they are entitled to it due to a request made by you and ask for confirmation that your information will be kept safe. There are online companies that can provide confirmation of the reliability and trustworthiness of online companies. Consult them whenever you think it's necessary.
Though monitoring services provide continued updates on any access to your accounts and credit report, remember that you are entitled to requesting (free of charge) a copy of your credit report stating recent accesses to your credit history from each credit bureau, at least once a year.
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