Online Credit Monitoring

The basic idea behind online credit monitoring is that when new marks on your credit appear, either by you or by someone else, you will be notified in a timely manner. If someone opens a new credit card in your name, for instance, you will be notified and can have the card closed before things get any more out of hand. Most notifications can be ignored, as you should immediately recognize them. If you don’t recognize a charge, a line of credit, a new credit card, some form of financing, then you can investigate further. If it turns out that someone has indeed stolen your identity, then you can do something about it before the problems pile up any further.

It is important that you monitor all three of the existing credit bureaus. Yes, there are three. While one business may report to all three, another may only report to one. A savvy identity thief may even know what companies report to just one, and may take out some credit or financing with that company in order to minimize the chances of being caught. That’s why you must monitor all three continuously. If any marks appear on any one of those three, you will know about it.

There are two ways to monitor all three credit bureaus. One is the old fashioned way – doing it manually. This means continuously pulling your credit reports from all three bureaus and looking through them for anything conspicuous. Some people still prefer to do it this way, and there is nothing wrong with that if you have the time, commitment, and energy. Most of us would prefer to automate this process, however, and luckily for us, there are inexpensive services that will monitor our credit for us, and report the results regularly. All we have to do is review the updates they send us.

Let’s be clear: this is not a magic bullet to defeating identity theft. Sometimes a new item will appear on your credit within days. Other times it may take weeks. The one certainty is that by the time you receive the conspicuous information, the identity theft has already occurred. The idea here is merely to minimize the actual property theft before it gets any worse. In some cases, people are unaware that the theft is occurring for a very long time, and meanwhile, the thief slowly drains their accounts. And remember that the longer it takes to respond to a case of identity theft, the more difficult it becomes to recover stolen property and restore your credit.

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