In light of the recent Facebook saga, no one can deny the online world is not safe. We are not on control. Yet, rejecting social media platforms, online banking or other online innovations that make people’s lives easier, is not a solution.
Frauds and online thefts track your every move, waiting for a moment you slip up. So, what is the way out? Happily, different credit alert services out there offer a solution.
Credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft in 2017, according to the FTC data. In the wake of the Experian data breach, it has compromised the data of over 143 million U.S. consumers. As a result, credit cards were used in 92 percent of fraudulent transactions in 2018.
Credit alert services promise a lot. But one thing they do great – they help you sleep safely at night. Thus, they actively monitor your credit report for any suspicious activities. Once something goes wrong, you can receive early warning of changes to your credit.
It can be a dramatic increase in balances or a raise in the daily cash withdrawal limit. Even though such credit alert services don’t prevent identity theft or fraud, yet they do report you. Some services offer a more personalized way and recommend routes for you to choose from.
How Much Will Credit Alert Cost You?
Indeed, you understand that such credit alert services typically charge a monthly fee. The number may vary and could be as high as $600 per year.
So, the choice is yours. Well, what do they charge for? Such services receive gather reports from one or all of the credit alert agencies and once any fraudulent activity is noticed, they alert you. So, you pay for scanning your credit files to thwart any possible identity thieves.
Can you monitor your credit for free? Sure, you can. The best thing that you can use the same tools that credit alert services use. You can request a free copy of your credit score report available every year from each of the three credit bureaus.
Also, you can poke around your credit card settings and set up automatic notifications. Thus, you’ll be notified every time a bank or other financial institution makes a transaction on your account. So, you’ll get an alert about your credit card activity, be it withdrawal or purchases that exceed a specified amount.
For more serious actions, you can place a freeze on your credit. This way, lenders can’t review your credit and as a result, it prevents the opening of new accounts. Think to apply for online loans in the nearest future? Need more control? No matter your reason, your options vary.
Who Offers Credit Monitoring Services
For $19.95/month, TransUnion Credit Monitoring offers you protection. To be more accurate, it offers monthly credit alerts for your TransUnion credit score and credit report. So, you receive alerts whenever there are changes to any of your accounts.
Whether it’s a new account opened in your name, credit card balance increase or the rise of negative information, you’ll receive an alert. Remember that you’ll receive alerts to your TransUnion credit report only. No Equifax or Experian credit reports are possible.
Despite the data breach in 2917, Equifax still makes the list of the best credit alert services out there. As a result, Equifax offered all U.S. victims a free year of credit monitoring through its new TrustedID Premier service.
The trick is that identity thieves may wait a year or more before using or stealing your data. So, additional protection beyond that free offer does make sense.
A new Equifax credit monitoring service called ‘Lock & Alert’ offers you to options. First, you can freeze or lock your credit but keep in mind that this type of service may involve fees. In case you will want to open a new credit account, apply for a mortgage or any other type of loan, the lock options will cost you money.
Second, a fraud alert offers potential lenders to verify the identity of anyone opening an account in your name. This option is free but usually needs to be reinstated every 90 days.
Capital One Financial Corp
Of course, U.S. citizens are not the only ones affected by fraudulent thieves. Aa Capital One claims, the personal details of about 6 million individuals in Canada were stolen in a hack attack recently.
If you or your family members are one of those victims, Capital One offers you protection. Get your free credit monitoring Canada services and identity protection from Capital One. For completeness, about 100 million bank customers in the U.S. have been affected by this hack attack.
One thing that differentiates Canadians from the U.S. residents is that they can get a free credit report at any time, for as many times as needed. Moreover, there is no charge, deposit or credit card info needed.
Different big banks do also offer optional credit alert offering services. With Credit Alert Plus from RBC, you get a comprehensive suite of tools to protect your credit files and detect signs of identity theft. So, you have a 30-day free trial, afterward, get ready to pay $19.99/month. If any suspicious activities are noticed, you’ll receive an alarm to take action.
TD Bank Financial Group
With Credit Alert TD, receive notifications anytime, anywhere alerting about any suspicious activity. You have to respond to the TD credit alert, or otherwise, your card will remain blocked.
Once the bank reaches you, your account is unlocked. With, Credit Alert Plus TD, you can use a generous package to restore your identity. Your protection depends on you, so stay tuned to any alerts.
The Value of Credit Monitoring Service
As you see, credit alert services offer you a convenient way to protect yourself from fraud and identity thefts. Without a doubt, any of those credit monitoring services won’t prevent you from fraud. So, what is your benefit?
They will let you know as soon as after the fact. As a result, it prevents you from further damage to your credit file. As a consumer, it’s in your own interest to protect yourself.
You have to take the necessary precautions to prevent any fraud or identity theft. You can do credit monitoring on your own or pay for extra protection. The latter option makes sense if:
– You have a victim of a fraud or identity theft;
– You don’t want to freeze your credit reports;
– No guarantee that you will monitor your credit report as recommended.
In all other cases, you can take credit alerts in your own hands. Sure, you can do your own research and make your own list of credit alert services. Don’t be daunted by the number of two dozen companies offering credit alerts. Yet, you’d better don’t take the risk and choose actually market leaders.
Even though you have a subscription plan to some credit monitoring agency, that’s okay. You can call the customer service line to learn how to cancel credit alerts. Typically, you can’t do it online. So, speaking directly to your bank or financial institution representative will do the trick.
So, if you decide to use a credit alert, you’d better weight the pros and the cons. You can sign up for a free service or several free services, and you lose nothing.
If you opt for the absolute best fraud protection, head over to the top-rated services that promise to give all-around protection at all levels at extra cost. Now, what do you think about credit alert services? Have you experienced any of them?