Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring was an activity that once upon a time was relegated to financing a mortgage or repairing battered credit in hopes of lifting that credit score.

Now that the credit score rules over so much more of our life and finances, it necessitates a frequent monitoring especially in light of a difficult economy that has put I.D. theft and credit scams at the forefront of modern crime.

credit monitoring

What this monthly monitoring offers is extra protection to our money and finances.

Whether you need this protection is something each of us must weigh for ourselves.

One thing to consider, when thinking of Identity theft most think it wholly as a cyber crime and for the most part it is. Increasingly though, are many other methods that criminals use to obtain your information that are not part of the internet. Sometimes,these methods they use, are out of our control.

What Credit Monitoring Services Provide

Credit Monitoring services are provided by the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Many banks and other credit related businesses also provide these services.

  • Most will provide you with a copy of your credit report from either one or all three of the credit bureaus. Though when considering identity theft all three reports are more effective.
  • Many will give you a break down of what good credit is contained in your report and the negative aspects.
  • Along with that information some will give you tips about why the info is bad and what you can do about it.
  • Most will help you in some way with disputing information in your report.
  • Many times you will also retain a credit score with the credit report that you obtain (though it may not be an actual FICO score).
  • An important feature of these services are the emails that you will receive of any significant changes to your report such as new inquiries, accounts being opened, ect.
  • Usually there is a schedule of credit report updating. This can be an important aspect, depending on why you are using the monitoring.

Should you use credit monitoring services?

There are those of the opinion that credit monitoring is costly and not worth the effort. It is also said that it is a poor way to protect yourself from fraud.

What this website believes is that this monitoring is PART of a comprehensive plan to protect yourself.

There is much to be done in this effort and credit monitoring can be one of the weapons used to protect yourself, but by no means the only one!!!

Fraud protection is only part of the worry. There are many sides to fraud and simply many persons that are looking for any way to obtain money in what ever way they may.

To explain this thought and give a good example why I believe these services are necessary I will relate a current experience.

There is a debt collector currently trying to collect a rather large sum of money from me. This debt is from an contract for services from eleven years ago. The contract was in dispute and court action was due to be taken against this party. As settlement to avoid a class action suit, property was to be returned and the contract dissolved.

Now eleven years later they are pursuing this again. Did they think I forgot the details???

The debt is past the statute of limitations in my state and they have never tried to collect the debt til now.

Letters from this company say that the credit bureaus have had this debt reported to them. My credit monitoring services tell me this company is LYING!! Without a credit monitoring service I would need to pull my credit report. If I had previously used the free federal credit report for yearly maintenance of my credit records, then with this incidence, I would need to pay.

Other evidence that this service is needed

At Citi credit monitoring services it relates that one would be amazed at how much information is stored at the social security office and the registry of motor vehicles. I can tell you that is just a start of the list of places that store information about us all.

That same site goes on to say it's even more amazing and FRIGHTENING at how many people can gain access to this information.

It even lists 6 websites to visit to see how much info you can access about yourself.

Enough said for me!!!

There is a certain level of peace when you know the scammers in this world can't get the upper hand. Peace is something that is lacking greatly in most of our lives and that has a high value in my life. So those that say credit monitoring is too expensive.....I don't think so!!!

Another argument I read against credit monitoring is that you can self monitor for free.

???? not your credit least not monthly. That first one from the federal government is free. In some states a second one can be free. In certain circumstances such as credit refusal, I.D theft, or unemployment issues and seeking employment will get you a free credit report.

We're talking monitoring here and that usually can not be done freely, though there are some that now are free.

Monitoring your own bank accounts is free and should be done regularly. Checking your credit statements monthly is free but checking your credit report is not free.

If someone gains access to your information and opens an account in your name or makes withdrawals from an account you may not know this. Consumer credit protection laws only make you liable for $50.00 for unauthorized transactions.

Knowing that your accounts have been compromised early and usually alerting your financial institution early can in most cases lead to NO liability for those unauthorized transactions.

No liability is better than a $50.00 dollar accountability in my book. If you have read much else on this website my phrase for this situation is "more of your money in your pocket".

Another protection is the security freeze.

Some would suggest this is the better protection. I say it's ANOTHER protection that should be ADDED. These services are not expensive!!Though I know everyone is trimming their budget to the bones these days!!

It should be looked at like insurance. The reason you insure something is to retain the value of that thing insured. If you do not have the resources or money to restore something valuable when it is stolen or destroyed then most people insure that item.

Some credit monitoring services ARE insurance policies. They offer reimbursement insurance if thieves are able to steal your money or your identity. Yet there should be a level of caution exercised here and not being too confident in this protection as there may be loop holes in the protection.

Many warn that ID theft can sometimes take considerable amounts of time to detect. Those with an insurance policy may think they are covered when it is discovered that the theft was initiated before the coverage period and therefore are ineligible for benefits. Reading the fine print on any policy is needed.

Bottom line the insurance is a nice feature and credit monitoring is most likely something to use, but do not become over confident in these. Keeping vigilant with your accounts and finances is what these times call for.

Which ever way you decide about credit monitoring here are some of the companies I have come across, some I have used and what I think,others with their resources that I have found.

One thing to note about these services is that they seem to be of two camps. Those that are primarily looking at your report and score with emphasis on helping you to learn how to improve your credit along with monitoring your credit reports only as a fraud deterrent alerting you to any new activity.

The other type focuses more on the actual ID protection with monitoring included on the internet, scanning for use of your name, S.S. number, address change, ect.

There is less focus on your score though many times it is provided. Many have a score of there own called an Identity threat score. This is a feature where they find how many sources on the internet your information is stored at.

The more sources they find the higher your score. I would assume a high score here is not good! These usually offer the highest rates of insurance or warranty for ID restoration services.

Credit Monitoring Services

Credit Karma

    This one is actually free, you do get a score here. It is a Transunion Transrisk score. There isn't an actual credit report but there is a credit report card that lists features of your report. There is no actual credit monitoring but there are notifications of changes at their score center. You can also find your vantagescore here along with your auto insurance score. Nice features and worth a mention for a free product.
    Visit Credit Karma here.

American Credit Report

    Features a 7 day trial. Partners with Corelogic Credco. You receive a credit score, 3 bureau monitoring with email alerts to significant changes. It appears that you get one credit report.The cost is $17.48 a month after the trial. You can refresh your credit report for $14.95 and there is an upgrade of the 3 bureau monitoring with 3 reports from each of the bureaus and the credit scores from each bureau at $29.90.
    Visit American Credit Report here.

Credit Keeper

    This one is from HSBC bank. There is a one month free trial and there after it will cost you $9.99 monthly. You get 3 scores from each of the credit bureaus by credit xpert. There is a credit report with information from all three credit bureaus. Daily monitoring of your experian credit report with email alerts.
    Visit Credit Keeper here.

Free Credit Score

    This is probably the most heard of one. It is put out by consumerinfo which is an experian company. There is a 7 day free trial. You will receive one experian credit score (score plus) and one experian credit report for 14.95 a month after the trial period. You can upgrade to 3 bureau monitoring for $29.95.
    Visit Free Credit Score.Com here.

Free Score

    This one has a 7 day trial and there after will cost $14.95 a month for 3 bureau credit monitoring that includes email alerts when changes occur. There are three credit scores from each of the credit bureaus and the ability to update them every 30 days.Insurance and auto scores are also available. The membership includes ID Theft restoration services.
    Visit Free Score here.

Go Free Credit

    Here you get a 7 day trial and there after $14.95. You receive a credit score from each of the credit bureaus. There is monitoring of all three bureaus with email alerts but no actual credit report to view. Their product is called Credit Score Complete.
    Visit Go Free Credit here.

Guard Dog ID

    Has a 30 day trial, has several packages to choose from startingat $2.95 a month for very basic service to $19.95 for superior service. (4 packages to choose from) Depending on the package you choose you will receive 1 or 3 bureau monitoring,public records monitoring, name and alias monitoring,SSN monitoring, address monitoring, lost wallet protection, one million dollar insurance protection against ID theft and ID restorative services. Seems like a good value!!
    Visit Guard Dog ID here.

Identity Guard

    There appear to be 3 programs to choose from but they are focusing on only 2 that have 2 week trials and the price per month has been dropped. One is called Watchful Eye at $9.99 a month after the trial you receive equifax bureau monitoring and an equifax credit score with updates. ID Theft insurance of $2,500.00 with Travelers Ins.Co. You also get SSN and address monitoring.With the Total Protection Plan you receive 3 bureau monitoring along with 3 scores from each of the credit bureaus with updates. $1,000,000.00 ID theft Ins. with Chartis. Many types of personal computer protection and ID monitoring with alerts. This plan is now $17.99 per month.
    Visit Identity Guard here.

Life Lock

    This company was the "original" ID protection co. They have two products the original service that is still only $9.99 a month which includes their $1,000,000.00 insurance protection against ID theft and ID theft protection. This protection includes what they call a 5 point protection. Monitoring your identity, scanning for identity threats,responding to identity theft, a trust our service guarantee (a remediation specialist along with the million dollars to restore your ID),monthly tracking of your transunion score.The ultimate version gives you all this with 3 bureau credit monitoring, checking and savings acct.application alerts, information change alert to existing accounts,internet monitoring, address change alerts, public record monitoring,lost wallet protection. All this with a priority status at $24.99 monthly.
    Visit Life Lock here.

My Fico

    Here we are at the company that originated the credit report and the credit score. There are many products to choose from here but for monitoring purposes there is the Fico Quarterly monitoring at $4.95 a month. This gathers your transunion credit report and the transunion FICO score quarterly. You also receive $25,000.00 in ID Theft protection from Travelers. There is a toll free number and specialists to help if you do fall victim to Identity theft.Scorewatch is the other FICO monitoring product. There is a 10 day free trial on this one.It monitors your Equifax credit report daily and that bureaus FICO score weekly. You receive two credit reports per year.E Mail alerts for when you qualify for better rates or reach a target score. Also alerts to unexpected changes especially when they make your score drop. Email alerts for new account openings,inquiries for new credit, changes to account limits,any new activity on accounts or public records or new collection activity, alerts to any changes made of personal information on any records. This service is $14.95 monthly.
    Visit My Fico here.

Privacy Guard

    This one has me intrigued. It says the first month is $1.00. It then goes on to call it a free trial but then defends the $1.00 claiming they use it to donate to charity. Apparently some have asked for a receipt for this yet they spend much time on the web site explaining why you cannot get a receipt and that it's actually a fee. Seems like the whole issue is one big bother. Bottom line to me red flags go up when a company calls something free when they are actually charging money and then go round and round in circles with it. They should drop the dollar and shorten the trial time. No explanations needed and a more reputable standing attained. (That's only my opinion!!)

    What you get here is 3 bureau credit monitoring, one credit report with data from all three credit bureaus. One credit xpertscore with monitoring and email alerts. $1,000,000.00 ID theft insurance, SSN monitoring,document storage, norton internet security,reviews of personal records such as your driving record, neighborhood reports and medical information.After the trial period this service will cost $14.99 monthly.
    Visit Privacy Guard here.

True Credit

    This one is a transunion product. It has a 7 day trial and there after costs $14.99 monthly. None of the features of this plan are advertised on the homepage. You will have to hit the continue button and enter the order page to access the actual plan. You will receive a transunion credit score with unlimited updates. The credit monitoring is at all three credit bureaus with email alerts to changes. There is ID theft insurance of $25,000.00. The ability to freeze or lift a freeze on your transunion credit report can be done from your account.
    Visit True Credit here.

Trusted ID

    Here you will receive a 14 day free trial, thereafter you decide if you want an individual plan or a family plan. You can pay $14.99 monthly or $125.00 yearly for the individual plan. The family plan costs 27.99 monthly or $240.00 yearly. The family plan seems to cover a wide variety of family members as long as they are part of your household.What you will receive in this plan: 3 bureau monitoring, 3 bureau credit report, 3 bureau credit score. Internet scanning of credit card numbers,SSN, name and address and bank account numbers. There is an Identity threat score, lost wallet protection, medical benefits protection and junk mail reduction.Also personal computer protection and what they call $1,000,000.00 service warranty with on call protection specialists (in the event of ID theft).
    Visit Trusted ID here.

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