What About Monitoring My Credit Report?
Posted May 1, 2013
WRAL Reader Question
Do you recommend a Credit and ID protection company?
That's an excellent question.
There are ads you see from time to time that sell credit monitoring services. And to be honest, I felt like it was all a bunch of hogwash, until my wife lost her purse. Once that happened we enrolled her in one of those programs to get a jump on any suspicious activity.
In general credit monitoring will actively monitor your credit report for changes that might indiciate suspicious activity. It would be a good way to get an early warning if someone was using your good name to apply for credit.
The reality is that while the number of cases of identity theft is growing, there are still a small group of all people that are active victims.
But as an example of a credit monitoring service, one such paid monitoring service is provided by Credit.com. They monitor all three credit bureaus for new accounts and activity.
An example of a free credit monitoring product would be the one offered by CreditKarma.com. They monitor one credit report at no charge.
Rather than be paranoid about being a victim the more prudent thing to do would be to get a consolidated credit report twice a year to review your credit history. This will give you a chance to review all three credit reports to look for information that is wrong or incorrect. You can then dispute this information with the credit bureaus.
You can get a free credit report once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com but I think because these are not merged into one report it makes it harder to spot inconsistencies. They also do not contain your credit scores so that's another piece of the puzzle that's missing.
Wrong or incorrect information occurs on significantly more credit reports than identity theft and fixing the errors can improve your credit score.
I realize that was a long winded response but like everything in the debt and credit world, there is more to know before you can make the best educated decision about what solution is right for you.
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy
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