Identity left is one of the most devastating crimes in America. Your Social Security Number is unique to you and it should stay with you throughout your entire life. Sadly, 6.5 million Americans had their SSN stolen last year alone (including 2.5 million SSN belonging to those who are deceased). When your SSN is stolen and misused, the repercussions can affect your financial wellbeing for years to come. An individual’s credit can be ruined.
Using the Internet is part of daily life for most Americans. Its no surprise then that hackers are the number one SSN thieves. An individuals SSN and his or her name is stolen and sold to tax frauders who then file tax returns in another’s name and take their tax refund. “Tax fraud is older than the IRS” – Pagliery, Jose. “Hackers are Steeling Your Tax Refund.” CNNMoney 10 Feb. 2015.
Its no surprise if you or someone you know has had their SSN stolen. Only a few days ago, a friend of mine reported that his SSN had been stolen. He tried to e-file his taxes only to learn that someone had already filed for a tax return using his name and SSN. My friend spent the day on the phone with the IRS, who told him that by April 2015 over 1.1 million returns had already been found fraudulent. After reporting fraudulent use of a SSN the individual may have to wait 2 to 18 months before receiving their tax refund.
My friend feels unsafe. He took the usual steps to protecting his SSN and his credit. Despite taking precaution, his information was stolen. When asked about his situation he responded, “I feel there is little to no identity security! This could have been obtained by any of the numerous record-hacking cases we hear about, like Target.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) reminds Social Security holders about the dangers of stolen SSN.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. A dishonest person who has your Social Security number can use it to get other personal information about you. Identity thieves can use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name. Then, they use the credit cards and do not pay the bills” United States. SSA. Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number: 2013.
Instead of slowly rebuilding your credit after it has been destroyed, it is best to weekly or monthly check your credit score and history to protect your financial status. If your SSN is stolen, you should contact the following groups:
- SSA- idtheft.gov or call 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338)
- IRS- irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection or call 1-800-908-4490
- IC3 (if your SSN was stolen electronically)- ic3.gov
Credit monitoring is basically a mechanism to monitor our Credit History and keep track of changes, which may indicate credit related fraud. Credit Monitoring, therefore, protects our Credit standing and Credit Score. In a world where Credit Score becomes so very crucial for our financial life, it is worthwhile to secure it through credit monitoring.
Credit History, Credit Score and the impact on Human Life:
Credit Report and Credit Score are the two most important factors a lender or an institution uses to decide on whether to give a loan or not. These two factors are evident proofs of us being genuine in terms of money and repayment. Thus, to maintain a good Credit Score, it is important to repay loans on time and be responsible with money.
By managing Credit in a proper way we can build a good Credit Score to make life easier. Getting mortgages becomes next to impossible without a strong Credit Score. Credit History and Credit Score are validated while sanctioning a business loan. Similar is valid while sanctioning a home loan or a personal loan. Therefore, our life revolves around this vicious circle of good Credit Score and Credit Report. Adding more value to it, with a strong credit Score we can even get a Credit Card at lower fees.
Some employers may even look at Credit Reports as part of the interview process – meaning poor credit could cost us a new job. Barring all these, nowadays, even when we go for a new cell phone plan or cable provider, they might check our Credit History. Thus, it takes in a lot of effort to build strong Credit Score. However, with some ignorance of not having the monitoring, this hard work can be ruined by some thieves.
With just bits of our personal information, one can take fraudulent loans and rack up debts in our names, can leave behind a long list of unpaid bills and outstanding loans on our Report. And, it is only through surprising calls from the collection Agency and/or denial of loans due to bad credit that we come to know about such fraudulent activities. Later on, it takes years and years of hassle to overcome from this bad report.
Nowadays, even landlords check Credit History before renting apartments. Bad Credit History not only hampers these parts of life but also many other areas like obtaining discount benefits on insurance premium. Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in consumer credit protection.
Credit Monitoring is important not only to keep our financial future secured but also to lead a smooth sustainable life.
Credit Monitoring & its Importance:
Most common cases of credit related fraud include Identity theft, Credit frauds and unnoticed errors. Credit Monitoring is the only answer to such fraud whereby, we could protect our Credit History and Credit Score.
While fraud prevention is the most direct benefit from Credit monitoring, there are other allied benefits provided by different service providers. Here are some of the widely used benefits realized out of Credit Monitoring –
- When we subscribe to Credit Monitoring, the service provider or agency acts as a watch dog, protecting our Credit Report all the time from all possible frauds. It keeps a track on it for changes that could hint at fraud. Such as, presence of any new accounts or appearance of any uncommon spending habits. The agency or service provider accordingly sends us a report on Credit Score and notification via email as and when there is any suspicious activity seen around our accounts.
- Other services may cross mention, considering for all the data connected with the person’s name or identity number so that the duplicitous accounts are recognized. And, that too when they do not usually show up in the credit report
- Hitting in place the Credit Card security features to preclude thieves from exhausting our personal information for their fraudulent loans or any other wrong doings
- Some of the credit monitoring services monitors the Social Security number as well, in case we are apprehensive that this Social Security number has been compromised in any way. Thus, they ensure protection to this personal document too
- Offering much-required information on what the credit report actually means to us, and how to conclude on whether or not we have the good or a bad credit score
- There are several ways to monitor our Credit and that too without paying a single penny to Credit Monitoring Services. There are service providers and/or agencies offering free service on credit score. Through their monthly customized action plan, we can get our Credit Score on a monthly basis from experts – and that too for free.
In the US, there are single-bureau service and/or three-bureau service for obtaining Credit History. Single-bureau service means with data access to only one out of 3 national Credit Reporting bureaus. On the other hand, three-bureau service means data access to all the three national Credit Reporting bureaus. However, it is always advisable to go for three-bureau service to get complete information on identity theft and on one’s Credit History, especially in the US.
In UK (United Kingdom), there are agencies and/or service providers like Big Three credit agencies offer similar services on Credit Monitoring. However, there are smaller bureaus like First report and UK Credit Info. The services they offer are generally filling of accounts, mainly the latest ones, board appointments and resignations, sharing of capital amendments, change in company’s name or address (especially registered office address), CCJs and changes in Credit rating.
A good Credit History with good Credit Score can really mean a big time savings as these scores act as the determining factors while accessing loans, or interest rates or any regular payments. Through monitoring Credit we can actually manage our existing loans and improve the scope for future requirements and investments. Not only it gives us peace of mind but also helps in protecting the financial standing. Through these services, we can get the notification about changes in the balance as and when new accounts are opened. This way we can think of limiting the impact of our identity theft.
Any alert with discrepancy or incorrect information that we receive helps us keep a check on it through Credit bureau. This way we can maintain our Credit Score and plan for future loans without getting any sudden shock of denial or rejection and help lead a smooth life. Credit and identity go hand-in-hand and by monitoring it we actually keep our identity in a secured place.Share
Identity theft is the act of stealing one’s identity in order to commit crimes in the name of the victim or to use the resources (from financial accounts) in order to gain personal advantage. Falling victim to identity theft will greatly affect your finances and there’s a big risk for you to be arrested for crimes you didn’t commit. Recovering from this however entails lots of hard work and money in order to clarify your name but the negative effects of it on your credit history will be very hard to remove if it’s possible.
There are a lot of ways to detect identity theft at its early stage though. Among the signs include towering credit bills when you think you didn’t spend a lot for the month or if you’re just sticking to your monthly buying routine. Inconsistencies or errors should also be detected at an early stage. If you didn’t recognize any purchase, try to inquire to your respective banks or stores about it and see if you really bought the stuffs on the list. Furthermore, monitoring your credit history and score regularly is a good way to check inconsistencies and prevent identity theft from happening. Best Credit Reports for example allows you to subscribe for a monthly copy of your credit history and score for you to monitor them.
The Use of Identity Theft Insurance
Availing for identity theft insurance on the other hand is a good plan B in case you fail to prevent falling victim to identity theft. Although it should be clear that identity theft insurance only provide monetary assistance for you while cleaning up your identity, it doesn’t mean that when you avail for the insurance your credit will be automatically fixed and cleaned up. The insurance can help pay for the legal assistance such as lawyers and criminal prosecutors as well as lost wages.
The restoration of your name and the hassles that goes with it will still be done by yourself however if you have an insurance, then you won’t be burdened financially as this can help you with the expenses associated with cleaning up the mess.
Overall, it is still best to prevent such unfortunate event from happening hence monitoring your credit reports is the best you can do to avoid all the hassles, headaches, and costly fees.Share
Credit Monitoring Services
Availing for credit monitoring services enables you to access your credit reports from three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) without having to acquire it from them one by one. When you subscribe for regular credit reports on a monthly basis, you will have the opportunity to check each item of your purchase and keep track of your expenses. Based on your current report, you can plan your finances for the next month so as to keep your budget intact. However, that’s not only the purpose of acquiring monthly reports. The main purpose involves making sure that you won’t be falling victim to the hands of the criminals who use your credit card to purchase their stuffs.
So how do you know if identity theft is likely to occur? In order to do so, you need to be vigilant and look for inconsistencies and errors on your credit report. If you don’t recognize some of the purchases being made, then inquire about it on your banks or the store where the purchase is placed. If you don’t monitor the early signs of identity theft, you might end up paying for a debt you didn’t incur or worst end up in jail for crimes you didn’t commit.
Do Credit Monitoring Services Create a False Sense of Security?
Since a lot of credit monitoring services is now being offered, most consumers might think that they will be automatically safe from identity theft if they subscribed to one. However, subscribing to regular credit monitoring reports doesn’t remove you from the candidate list of victims. It should not create a false sense of security though since falling victim to identity theft doesn’t rely on your subscription but it does on your hands. You will be the one to monitor your purchases regularly and the reports are only tools for you to do it easily.
Hence, if you did subscribe and then never read or check and monitor your purchases, then it will be useless and you won’t be able to detect the early signs of identity theft at all. Overall, credit monitoring services such as offered by www.bestcreditreports.com are only useful if you actually make use of them in monitoring your own credit history and score.Share
Having problems keeping up with your finances? Acquiring a copy of your credit report with score and history can greatly help you monitor your cash flow and expenses.
Nowadays, we are on the trend of virtualization. From banking to shopping, all can be done online with a few clicks and keyboard strokes. You don’t need to be physically present on a store if you wanted to buy your favorite stuffs. The Internet can cover the distance for you. However, as much as our daily transactions have been made easier with the use of cloud technology, it also leaves us with more complex data to understand, analyze, and secure.
You might be shock seeing your credit card bill go high and hence you’d think that if you can only trace all your expenses, then you could be sure that your bill is accurate. Fortunately, this problem has already been addressed by numerous credit monitoring companies.
Credit monitoring service providers give you a detailed report regarding your credit card usage regularly for a subscription fee. Usually, these fees are minimal compared to acquiring all your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Among the most reliable credit monitoring service provider is the Best Credit Reports.
How to Get Your Credit Report Regularly
Getting your credit report online is not as difficult as you think it is. The first step involves finding the reliable and credible service provider that can send your detailed monthly credit history and score. Create a list of your top 5 picks and start comparing their added services, features, and fees.
Once you have checked all the features that you want to get from the agency, see if you agree with their fees and terms. Selecting the most convenient payment method and favorable terms is a good move.
If the credit monitoring agency has support, make sure to ask all the questions you have in mind before availing for their services. It’s always good to ask rather than to take surprises later down the road.
Lastly, once your credit report has arrived, check if complete details are provided. If you are not satisfied with the data presented then feel free to cancel your subscription so as to stop them from billing you every month. Go over the same steps again until you find the perfect firm that can satisfy your needs.Share