Monitoring your credit report can protect you from the headaches and problems of identity theft. By checking your credit report annually you can be on top of incorrect information. Additionally, you can enroll (and pay) for identity monitoring service which typically scans identity information in credit applications and monitors your credit for the unusual activity.
The credit bureaus offer a fraud alert and a credit freeze to protect you in the event of identity theft. A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity.
A key provision of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 is your ability to place a fraud alert on your credit record. You are able to use this option if you believe you were a victim of identity theft. The alert requires any creditor that is asked to extend credit to contact you by phone and verify that the credit application was not made by an identity thief.
You can always place a credit report freeze with each credit bureau by contacting them directly. A credit freeze is also known as a security freeze will restrict access to your credit report. This will make it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.
Identity Theft Protection Services
ID theft protection services are products that are usually offered by companies such as the credit bureaus, credit card companies or other businesses to monitor your credit report for unusual activity. You can receive these services for free or through a paid monthly subscription.
ID theft protection services vary but most provide daily tracking and reporting of activity on your credit report such as a notice of credit inquiry.
Some may also provide insurance in the event you are a victim of identity theft paying for any legal services you may need.