Identity Monitoring Services

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Identity monitors typically scan identity information in credit applications for unusual activity.

Some services may help consumers correct problems if identity theft occurs, as well as offer identity theft insurance, monthly credit scores, chat room monitoring, public record searches, monitoring of black market websites and virus protection software.

Prices and services offered by identity monitors vary widely. The cost of identity monitoring services varies from as little as a few dollars a month to over $15 per month. Before signing up for a service, make sure you understand what you’re getting. This is particularly important when you are offered a “free” service. Before accepting a “free” offer, check for any hidden fees or cancellation requirements. Also, check with your local consumer protection agency and State Attorney General’s office to see if complaints have been filed against the company.

You can place a security freeze on your credit report to prevent identity thieves from opening credit in your name. Just remember that if you put a security freeze on your credit file, you will need to unfreeze your file (it can take as little as 15 minutes in some states) before you can open new accounts in your name.