What You Need to Know about Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring can be one of the easiest, most efficient and cost effective manners for preventing and detecing mistakes on your credit report.
Read more to learn to learn how easy it is to monitor your credit and how monitoring my credit enabled me to quickly detect credit blemishes and unauthorized use of my credit information– as well as how the monitoring system helped me to make corrections to my credit report.

Credit monitoring is an easy, effective method of monitoring the following information: inquiries into your credit line; new account activity; reported address changes on credit information; when and if collection activity has occurred in your name; changes to account information (such as increases in spending limits); changes in public records (such as judgments against you); any delinquencies or other negative changes to your accounts; as well as closed accounts. Credit monitoring does not keep identity theft from occurring, but an informed individual is able to note quickly changes in their report on a regular basis and take the appropriate steps to correct any mistakes on their credit report or detect any changes in their credit status that can be harmful.
From personal experience, I can not stress enough how important it is to monitor your credit. It had been approximately three years since I had need of credit information and upon receiving a free offer for credit monitoring, when I purchased my Turbo Tax system, I thought, “Why not?” I was amazed and astounded by why I found there. There were approximately 15 “mistakes” on my report. Many of them I was able to dispute as they had been paid in full and closed, but wrongly recorded. However, there were others in amounts ranging from $100.00-$500.00 that were totally and completely inaccurate. Small variations in my name and former address had allowed someone to obtain credit. Had I been monitoring my credit information on a regular basis, I would have been able to become aware of this information much sooner. I was one of the lucky ones, upon filing disputes and proving the falseness of the information every one of the so called mistakes were removed from my record. Not everyone is that lucky. Now every month I receive a report of any activity, as well as instant reports whenever any changes occur. It is similar to receiving your savings and checking account statements each month- and you wouldn’t give those up would you?
It has been proven, that although credit monitoring does not stop an identity thief dead in their tracks, it does limit your liability as well as keep you informed when any change occurs. Those who detect this negative or false activity on their report early are able to lessen any possible financial and credit rating damages.
There are several variations on credit monitoring services. The ones stated here are pretty much the industry standard, however, you may purchase additional services. The report itself is easy to read and provides credit providers, balances, contact information, payment information etc. In some cases you can even file your dispute (a disagreement with the facts presented) online while viewing your report. I suggest whatever report you chose allows you this option. You will be more likely to move quickly and efficiently in clearing up any mistakes. I also recommend that whatever monitoring service you use includes email statements and that it encompasses the three major credit agencies of TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Without this option, some credit problems may not be reported to you, if your service only monitors the one program. Not all credit providers use one program to file their reports.
The cost of credit monitoring services varies in price from approximately $39.99 to over $200.00. In most cases this is for one year of monitoring service. The federal government has provided consumers with the ability to obtain one free credit report each year through the rules and regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and is available from annualcreditreport.com. Your report may be obtained either online or via regular mail. However, once a year may not be enough to protect you, so you may want to invest in an additional program. Look for deals like I was able to get from Turbo Tax, when you are searching for an income tax filing system within the next few months. One last word of caution; be sure your credit monitoring service is reputable. You may want to contact one of the three credit report agencies or a financial professional to help you in making your choice of credit monitoring service.