What is Credit Monitoring and How Does it Work

By TechFunnel Contributors - Published on April 23, 2020
Credit Monitoring

What is Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring works as a watchdog and a service when it comes to keeping an eye out for your credit. It basically gives you access to your credit history so that you can analyze your previous credit reports thoroughly.

How to Identify Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring can also help you to spot mistakes in your credit report as well as signs of identity theft, so that you can take preventive measures for it.

You see, errors on your credit reports might not be a major concern for you but they greatly affect your credit score. This could make it very difficult for you to get the credit you are aiming for.

Moreover, it helps you to question about hard inquiries that took place without your permission.

Why do I need Credit Monitoring?

It is a healthy financial habit and easy enough to be a part of your financial routine. It is as important to you as looking out for your credit score. Not only can it help you to spot identity theft and error on your credit reports, it can also encourage you to take measurable steps to prevent the activities.

Moreover, you can easily spot out suspicious activities going on without your permission such as hard inquiries or newly made accounts against your name.

How Credit Monitoring Works

It uses a credit file as a source of reference in order to monitor any changes in your credit history. The credit file consists of information about you and how you have used credit in the past. It includes your full name, current and past addresses, and your Social Security number.

The data in your credit file can change for various reasons, and when the changes appear to have resulted from fraudulent activity, it will send you an alert. New account openings dealing with credit cards and loans may trigger alerts.

In addition, “hard” credit inquiries, which occur when a financial institution runs credit cards after these credit card or loan applications have been submitted, may prompt a credit monitoring alert. Sometimes, public records disclose information about bankruptcies and court judgements.

When this occurs, you may also receive a credit monitoring alert. Finally, any time an account is sent to collections for unpaid debts, a credit monitoring service may alert the user.

What is a Credit Monitoring Alert?

 It is basically a credit service that alerts you about all the real-time changes in your credit reports whenever some suspicious or irregular activities are spotted via phone, number or email.

Even though the credit companies cannot prevent theft, but they can alert you about it at the right time.

  •  What to do when you receive an alert

Whenever you receive a credit monitoring alert, you should first check your credit report for any inquiries you do not recognize or any accounts that may have been opened in your name. After doing so, if you find suspicious activity and think that you could be a victim of identity theft(1), report the activity right away. The following steps can also be taken after you have reported the suspicious behavior:

  1. Place a fraud alert and security freeze on your credit reports. Fraud alerts will require that creditors take additional steps to verify your identity whenever a new credit card is applied for in your name.Security freezes, prevent new credit from being opened in your name without your permission. They must be lifted before any person can apply for another line of credit or a loan. Additionally, the prevent third parties from accessing the information in your credit file.It is important to know that there are fees associated to placing and lifting a security freeze. They vary depending on the state.
  1. Close any fraudulent accounts. You should contact your creditors, phone companies, or banks to close any accounts that have been compromised.
  1. Call the police. A police report can aid in showing creditors that a fraudulent account has been opened in your name. Ensure that you keep organized records of any communication you maintain with the authorities and creditors regarding the crime, so that you have a paper trail to reflect the activity you have reported.
  1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint. The FTC does not handle individual consumer problems, but your complaint could lead to action on behalf of law enforcement.

What is Triple Alert Credit Monitoring

Triple alert or triple-bureau credit monitoring refers to scanning your credit reports at 3 of the national credit monitoring agencies, that is TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Scanning of your credit reports from 3 agencies is necessary as each one of them scans it differently from one another. This help you to discover or reveal identity theft or if your credit is being misused.

Reasons to Use Credit Monitoring

It helps protect data from people who try to steal it to open a credit account. Without its service, it may take you longer to realize that someone has stolen your data and undoing the damage this person has caused you may require more time and energy.

The services would alert you right away, so that the problem could be addressed immediately, rather than months later, when the damage would be more significant and more complicated to undo.

Companies may also use triple alert credit monitoring(2). This service provides comprehensive credit monitoring of all three national credit reporting companies’ (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) credit files and sends an alert notification to consumers when significant changes are detected in any of their three credit files. With identity theft becoming more common, it is more important because fraudulent activity on your reports can hurt your credit scores.

Difference Between Credit monitoring Vs. Identity Theft protection

Credit Monitoring Identity Theft Protection
Credit monitoring service refers to the services that monitors your credit report histories along with credit score. It is helpful to those who are looking for ways to improve their credit scores. Whereas, the identity theft protection services are more than just credit monitoring services. They also inform the users if any suspicious activity is detected on the credit reports and accounts.
You cannot monitor dark web These services include monitoring the websites where your information can be sold.
You cannot request for wireless and cable services both You can order for wireless and cable services both.

DIY Credit Monitoring

If you choose to do credit monitoring yourself(3), you can access one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. You can stagger your requests to receive one every four months to better monitor your credit reports at no cost over one year. These reports do not include a free credit score, but this may be attained through a credit card account.

Whereas, identity theft services are offered on a monthly basis or annually. And, identity theft monitoring services might include credit monitoring services at one of the 3 CRAs.

In addition to that, the providers also alert you personally when your social security number, email or personal identifiable number is used in ways that creates suspicion. Moreover, you can also avail restoration services from identity theft protection companies.

Credit monitoring is essential if all you want is to analyze your credit report and improve your credit score. However, if you have a fear of identity theft, you should always choose identity theft services over credit monitoring services.

Frequently Asked Questions about Credit Monitoring

Q. How can credit monitoring and fraud resolution help me?

A. Credit monitoring services help you to keep track of your credit reports and flags you whenever a new or suspicious activity occurs.

Q. Can I access my credit information from the past?

A. You can surely access your annual credit report card that would include sub credit reports of previous months.

Q. Can you have more than one credit monitoring service

A. To monitor your credit reports from all aspects, you need to have more than one credit monitoring service.

Final Thoughts

Credit monitoring is essential if all you want is to analyze your credit report and improve your credit score. However, if you have a fear of identity theft, you should always choose identity theft services over credit monitoring services.

TechFunnel Contributors

TechFunnel Contributors | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicated to sharing unbiased information, research, and expert commentary that helps executives and professionals stay on top of the rapidly evolving marketplace, leverage technology for productivity, and add value to their knowledge base.

TechFunnel Contributors

TechFunnel Contributors | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicate...

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