Many identity theft companies offer automated credit report change monitoring services which alert customers about credit report changes. Monitoring credit report changes is one of the best ways to detect certain aspects of financial identity theft on a go forward basis. This statement includes two key components. First, not all financial/credit identity theft cases hit the credit report in a way that would be easily detected or notified by automated services, and second, credit change alerts are only good for changes occurring after customers sign up for credit report change notifications and not changes that are present in the credit reports prior to credit report monitoring service registration date.
As you know, automated credit monitoring services alert consumers about significant changes reflected in the credit reports such as new accounts and delinquencies from creditors. Automated credit monitoring may be part of a broader identity monitoring service or just a focused monitoring depending on personal budget and focus. Usually, credit reports are monitored daily and email alerts are sent to notify registered individuals of changes which should be reviewed to detect potential fraud if some transactions were not initiated by the consumer. A key point to remember is that before signing up for credit monitoring which can cost around $10 per month, individuals should review the current state of their credit reports because when you sign up for a credit monitoring service, the report changes will be sent as of the date of the registration for the service and unauthorized accounts and transactions existing in the credit reports may not be detected.
Also, we stated that not all financial transactions end up in the credit reports as reportable items. This is why it is important for those who decide to sign up for an automated credit report change monitoring service to understand that not all cases of identity theft will be reported let alone detected by this type of service. For example, if a new credit account is opened with your personal information, this information will be reflected in your credit report and reported by the credit report monitoring company, however, any activities related to your checking or saving accounts will not be reported which is why it is important to monitor account activities as well as credit report activities.
In summary, automated credit report change monitoring is one of the best ways to detect certain aspects of financial identity theft on a go forward and timely basis, but first, order copies of your credit reports and review the content to make sure all accounts belong to you and that the account balances appear to be reasonably correct, and then, sign up for automated services to alert you of any credit report changes going forward in order to detect fraud on a timely basis.