What is a credit monitoring service?
Credit monitoring companies are owned by publicly-traded major corporations. They use the latest encryption, consumer screening, and data security technologies to make sure that your information is protected. If you've been a victim of fraud, or want to avoid becoming a victim, then credit monitering services may be the right choice.
Why do credit monitoring services provide these free trial offers?
Often it's the only way to experience firsthand how valuable it is to monitor your credit and how useful these services can be for doing just that. There's no obligation and you're able to cancel anytime during their free trial period.
Won't signing up for a credit monitoring services hurt my credit?
No. Consumers have the right to look at their credit report without it affecting their credit or credit score. When you request your credit report it's called a "consumer pull" and has no affect on your credit. Only when you ask a possible creditor to inquire about your credit can it affect your score. For example, if you go out looking for a new car and you let a dealership request a copy of your credit report, that could affect your credit score because it implies you're looking to open new lines of credit.
Once I sign up, will I be alerted if someone tries to open a new credit account?
Depends. If you sign up for a credit monitoring service that only monitors one credit bureau, you will only receive alerts that affect that credit bureau. But if you chose a credit monitoring service that monitors all 3 of the credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - you will receive alerts that affect all these 3 credit bureaus. This issue highlights the value of three bureau monitoring. No matter which bureau is affected, a three bureau monitoring product should generate an alert.
What are monitoring alerts?
You receive a monitoring alert via email or text messaging if essential information has changed on your report. That way, you can identify fraudulent activity early in cases where credit activity is unfamiliar or unauthorized. Most credit monitoring services will also send out a Monthly All Clear email when no key changes have been posted to any of your three national credit reports in the past month.