Credit Report Fraud Alert And Credit Monitoring Service

If you found something suspicious on your last credit card billing statement or if you feel you are at risk of identity theft, you should take action immediately. As soon as you suspect any of this, you should have a credit report fraud alert on your accounts. This will help detect further suspicious activities and stop them before doing any damage.

What is a fraud alert?

Fraud alert is a free service from the three credit reporting bureaus where every business, lender, or agency who checks your credit report will be notified of such alert. They will then take extra steps to make sure that you are indeed the one responsible for the activity. Verification will be in the form of a phone call, personal appearance or any extra measure to make sure that you have authorized it. No transaction will be considered successful unless the company has verified that the request has been made by you when there is a fraud alert.

There are two kinds of fraud alert; an initial fraud alert that lasts 90 days and an extended fraud alert that lasts seven years. The initial fraud alert is for individuals who suspect that they will be victims of identity theft and entitles you to a free credit report from all three bureaus. The extended fraud alert, on the other hand, is for those who are already victims and entitles you two free credit reports from all three bureaus on the first year and one report from each agency on the succeeding years. Both need a copy of the identity theft report. You are only required to send a fraud alert to one bureau and they are responsible for notifying the other two agencies.

Credit monitoring

If you do not feel confident about the free fraud alert or if you want to take extra measure in securing your accounts, you can avail of a credit monitoring service. The cost ranges from $10 to $20 per month. It is a paid service with a company where they will monitor your credit activities in one, two or all three bureaus every single day and will notify you of any inquiry or activity.

Choosing a credit monitoring service

There are a number of credit monitoring services available. The three major credit reporting bureaus have this service and there are independent websites that do too. So how do you choose? Choose a credit monitoring service that includes monitoring of all three credit bureaus to be safer and to get the most bang out of your buck since there are those that only include one or two.

It has been a concern that identity theft may happen undetected because it occurs in establishments that do not report to credit reporting agencies such as cable and cellphone companies. For this reason, there are credit monitoring services that cover a wider range in order to protect you. So choose a service that includes all areas of your concern.