A credit monitoring service is not for everyone, but if you want to keep a close eye on your credit there are some great services out there. I use a credit monitoring service because I’ve been a victim of fraud in the past and I disagree with groups that say you should look at your credit report only once or twice a year.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says it takes 12 months, on average, for a victim of identity theft to notice the crime. A credit monitoring service will alert you, usually daily or weekly, to changes in your credit – helping you to stop the theft before it gets out of control.
CONSIDER THESE FACTS:
According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft last year, at an average cost of $5,000 per victim. But two-thirds of victims who discovered the misuse of their personal information within five months incurred no out-of-pocket expenses.
That’s what a credit monitoring service can do for you – it can’t prevent identity theft but it can greatly reduce its impact.
Before starting any service, you should look through our Credit Monitoring FAQ.
* This benefit is not available to members who enroll using a New York mailing address
** Reimbursement will be provided by insurance carrier. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language.
Intersections and IDENTITY GUARD are federally registered trademarks of Intersections Inc.
NOTE: Whenever you order a credit report from anyone, you may be required to provide your name, address, telephone number, social security number, and credit card. This information is used to verify that you are who you say you are. It is one of the few times it is okay to provide this information. Even if you order a report directly from the credit bureaus, you will have to provide this information to verify your identity.
Service features and pricing verified as accurate on 16 MAY 2013.
Credit Monitoring Service FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it safe?
All of these companies are reputable and are owned by publicly-traded major corporations. These companies won’t risk their reputation working with an unethical company. They also use all of the latest encryption, consumer screening and data security technologies to make sure that your information is protected.
Won’t signing up for a credit monitoring service hurt my credit?
No. Consumers have the right to look at their credit report without it affecting their credit or credit score. When you request your credit report it’s called a “consumer pull” and has no affect on your credit. Only when you ask a possible creditor to inquire about your credit can it affect your score. For example, if you go out looking for a new car and you let a dealership request a copy of your credit report, that could affect your credit score because it implies you’re looking to open new lines of credit.
Why do they need all the information on the order form?
They need the information to verify your identity. Advanced security screens make sure that your request is valid and that you are who you say you are.
Once I sign up, will I be alerted if someone tries to open a new credit account?
You will only be alerted to credit inquiries when a potential creditor requests a credit check from the same credit bureau your service is monitoring.
In other words, if you sign up for the Consumerinfo.com, CIC credit monitoring service, the alerts will reflect new credit requests made using Equifax data. If a thief were try to buy a new luxury car at the local Mercedes dealer, and that dealer pulled a credit check from Experian, you would not receive an alert.
You would be alerted, however, once the thief buys the Mercedes in your name and it shows up in a new account on your credit report.
This issue highlights the value of the three bureau monitoring product. No matter which bureau is affected, a three bureau monitoring product should generate an alert.
Isn’t everyone entitled to one free credit report annually?
By Federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the credit bureaus.