Identity theft cases are growing in number each year. Thousands of American consumers have their identity stolen without even knowing. Usually these consumers will only realize their identity was stolen when they go to open a new credit card account or apply for a loan. It can be devastating to realize your identity has been stolen. Credit monitoring is one of the best ways to give yourself identity theft protection.
When it comes to stealing someone’s identity, a thief needs time to steal your personal information, open accounts, and run up the bills. This cannot be done overnight, therefore they will bank on the fact you are not up-to-date on your credit reports. Most identity thieves will change your billing address, remove money from your bank account and run up your credit card bills without you ever noticing it. Some can even get a job, rent an apartment or purchase a house under your name!
By frequently checking your credit report you can be on top of their game and get a step ahead. Your activity on your social security number and your name will be reported to the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Every consumer is entitled to a free copy of their credit report once a year. You have the option of ordering all three credit repots at once, or just ordering one at a time to span them out over the year. Just remember that no matter what, you only get one report from each agency once per year.
If you want to check up on your credit reports more than once a year, you can pay monthly subscriptions through credit monitoring services or order them from the agency themselves. You will have to pay per credit report that you access and the fees vary depending on the agency you obtain them from.
No matter what, monitoring your credit is the biggest way to prevent identity theft. Always be aware of what is on your credit report and monitor them closely for changes, updates, or new accounts. If you did not open an account recently, then you may be a victim of identity theft.