Summary: Credit Monitoring Services are an important way to protect your credit. A credit monitoring service is a service provided by some credit card companies that allows you to track your credit spending. You can view your credit report and even check your score at any time with one of these services. Here is what to look for when you sign up for one.

Do they alert you to any unusual activity on your account? Most credit monitoring services offer a real time alert feature that allows you to immediately look for suspicious activity. This way you can take action before charges are made and you can prevent identity theft from happening. Most of these services offer the ability to notify the credit bureaus so that they can take action quickly.

Are there detailed alerts available? The good credit score monitoring services will alert you every time an account is opened or used, or any activity occurs in the credit file. The nice thing about these alerts is that you will know right away if there is activity taking place so that you can take steps to stop it.

What is the process of notification? Most credit monitoring services will let you know via email of any new activity in your accounts. These emails will be sent to you or directly to the email addresses listed in your contact info. Some will also give you the option of phone alerts, which is a good feature to have especially if you keep receiving prank calls or if you want to check your identity theft reports at work.

How do you opt-in to these alerts? Good credit monitoring services will allow you to opt-in to receive alerts through the contact info you provide them. This way you do not need to go out and make a special effort finding the identity theft alert service because it will automatically detect any potential instances of fraudulence with your personal information and will notify you.

Can you trust the identity theft reporting system? The accuracy of these services is one of the biggest reasons why people regularly purchase this type of service. With these services, you will get comprehensive, real time reports on all of the accounts you have, which include your score, your credit rating, and your FICO scores. These services come from several different reporting agencies across the country, and the scores are updated regularly. This is one of the best ways to check your credit score because it will alert you to potential fraud, so you can take appropriate steps to prevent it.

Why would anyone need my credit file? This is primarily because someone may be trying to steal your identity or gain access to your accounts. For example, you might have online shopping, online bill paying, or a bank account. All of these accounts could be used to open up new accounts in your name, making it difficult to prove that you do not have any accounts in your name. Because credit monitoring services provide you with real time reports of potential identity theft, you can quickly report the issue to the credit reporting bureaus and have them investigate the claims.

Why would anyone want to steal my identity? If someone has reason to believe that you are using credit monitoring services to monitor your accounts, they might want to take advantage of that fact. They may want to somehow obtain your social security number, or use a credit card you might have. If you ever become a victim of identity theft, it will seem like it was just “one of those things” that happened to you.