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7/23/07

Should You Obtain the Services of a Credit Monitoring Service?

As I have been discussing in previous posts, credit is a very important asset in today’s society. Differing views exist as to the overall importance of credit versus the importance of cash, however, supporters of the latter do not deny that credit can be a useful tool.

If you have credit, do you know how to protect it? As you may know, identity theft is one of the most “popular” (for lack of a better term) crimes to commit. Two problems exist with credit and identity theft. First, victims of identity theft have a hard time repairing their credit even though the victim is not the guilty party. Second, you are not aware you are a victim of identity theft until you try to make a purchase that requires a credit inquiry.

Many identity thieves use a different address when obtaining credit in the victim’s name. Therefore, the victim receives no bills, no late notices, and no phone calls about defaults and delinquencies. In the normal, everyday use of your credit card, you credit report is not inquired upon to see if you qualify for a purchase. Your credit report is only used if you intend to make a large purchase (such as a house or automobile). This can leave you “in the dark” as to any illicit credit activity for several months. In the meantime, your credit is literally being destroyed!

In order to prevent this, I use a credit monitoring service. The credit granting company I use offers such a service for $12.00 per month. It has every feature you can think of and gives me instant access to my full credit report and all three of my credit scores. I use this service because it will enable me to quickly identify any unusual information on my report, as well as show me if my credit score raising techniques are working. In addition to those services, the credit monitoring service also notifies me if any unusual activity is being reported on my report.

If you choose to obtain these services, make sure you follow some guidelines:

(1) Make sure the company is reputable. You are going to be giving this company all the information (including your social security number, your address, your birthday, etc.) it would every need to steal your identity. Make sure that the company has many safety features to prevent that from happening.

(2) A larger price per month does not mean better service or product. I have seen prices from $12.00 per month to over $100.00 per month for these services. Make sure you are getting some vastly superior product or service if you choose to shell out an addition $88.00+ per month.

(3) Make sure the service is easy to use and has a way to be immediately reached in the event that you notice suspicious charges on your credit report. You do not want to find something wrong and then find out that you have to submit a claim that could take weeks to process!

If you decide that these services are right for you, shop around, and find the best deal. Protect your credit now and you will be able to save yourself some frustration in the future. Think of this service as a necessary insurance in an identity theft rich time.


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