The best credit monitoring services can help protect your credit information. These services send a text message or an email alert when they detect suspicious activity. After all, the sooner you know, the faster you can respond.
Are you a victim of credit card fraud? If so, credit monitoring is one of the first steps to repair your credit score. Even if you are not yet a victim of fraud, it is never too early to control your credit.
You can control your credit for free. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get a free online credit score that includes many credit cards.
Even so, I have used credit monitoring services for almost 10 years. That’s because you enjoy more benefits when you pay for monitoring.
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What is credit monitoring?
Credit monitoring is to monitor your credit report for possible fraud. They will send you an alert when they detect the following:
- Credit card applications
- Loan applications
- New openings of bank accounts
- Hard credit controls that affect your credit score
The credit monitoring companies do not know what actions they authorize. So they send alerts to verify unusual transactions. If you do not recognize the transaction, contact the monitoring service. Most plans offer personal help to correct the problem.
Free credit monitoring services monitor at least one credit agency. But you may not get identity monitoring. If you only want credit report alerts, this is probably all you need. Paying for a plan can offer protection against identity theft. Most services can control your credit report from the three agencies. These additional benefits can help you detect fraud before then.
Credit monitoring vs. protection against identity theft
Many credit monitoring services offer identity protection.
It is easy to confuse the two services, but there are some differences:
- Credit monitoring only looks for unusual activity on your credit report
- Identity monitoring looks for unusual activities that may not appear on your credit report
A new bank account, credit card or loan in your name creates a credit alert. These events and credit checks appear on your credit report.
But not all financial transactions land your credit report. For example, someone could use your Social Security number to get a payday loan. A thief can use his health insurance to get medical attention. Without identity monitoring, you may not discover it until you receive the invoice by mail. Do not forget, most premium plans offer a helpline you can call. They will help you to restore your identity.
Does credit monitoring prevent identity theft?
By itself, credit monitoring does not prevent identity theft. This is because of its reactive. You do not know until the unauthorized activity occurs. Choosing secure and unique passwords is one way to prevent identity theft. Another option is to use a different password for each account.
Requesting a credit freeze is the best protection. You must request freezing of each credit agency separately. You can freeze and thaw your credit by phone, mail or on the credit bureau’s website.
What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze means that banks cannot perform a credit check. With frozen credit, you can not get a new loan or credit card. You must defrost your credit before authorizing a credit check. Keep in mind that freezing credit does not stop all faults. If the activity does not appear on your credit report, then a credit freeze on its own will not trigger an alert.
Should I get credit supervision for each credit bureau?
It is better to get credit monitoring alerts from each office. But it depends on how much money you are willing to spend.
Free credit monitoring services do not monitor the three agencies.
Therefore, you must decide if these two free services meet your needs:
For the monitoring of three offices, Credit Sesame plans start at $ 15.95 per month.