Millions of consumers are at risk of digital identity theft. Unfortunately, credit monitoring (alone) doesn’t prevent digital identity theft. That’s because changes in credit score show credit events that have already happened – like identity fraud. Therefore, if you become the victim of identity theft you won’t discover it until you see the drop in your credit score – which could be months later.
Credit monitoring won’t alert you when someone steals your debit or credit card information. That’s because the identity thieves will have plenty of time to drain your bank account or max out your credit cards long before the fraud shows up on your credit report. Therefore, you need to add account monitoring services to protect your bank and credit accounts. Account monitoring services will alert you of any suspicious transactions so you can stop identity thieves before they steal your money.
When you apply for a new credit card, financial institutions will conduct a credit check on you. However, it will take at least one month before the credit check impacts your score. That means if a criminal takes out a credit card in your name, it will take a while for you to discover the fraud. You could end up owing thousands in fraudulent credit card debt before it shows up on your credit report. That’s why you should set up fraud alerts on your credit file to alert you if someone does a credit check on you. That way if anyone tries to open a fraudulent credit card in your name, you will get alerted.
Credit monitoring alone won’t stop identity thieves from applying for fraudulent loans with your personal information. Also, by the time the fraudulent loan lowers your credit score, it will be too late. Therefore, setting up fraud alerts on your credit file will warn you if criminals try to take out loans in your name.
Digital identity thieves (with your banking information) can add their names to your bank accounts. The thieves can then drain your bank accounts. Unfortunately, credit monitoring won’t tell you if a criminal is using your bank account. Once again, account monitoring services will track all of your banking transactions – and you will get contacted each time a transaction looks suspicious. Also, talk to your bank about security precautions that can protect your account from digital theft.
Finally, your retirement account is at risk of identity theft. However, checking your credit number will tell you nothing about any fraudulent activity related to your retirement account. Therefore, you should contact your account holder about ways to protect your investments. Also, add account monitoring services to your retirement account. That way if someone attempts to drain your retirement savings, you can stop them.
In short, knowing your credit score is important. For example, if you are planning to take out a loan or you want to improve your score. However, knowing your credit score won’t tell you (immediately) if digital identity thieves from stealing your debit or credit card, applying for fraudulent credit cards or loans in your name, and stealing the money in your bank and retirement accounts. Therefore, you must take proactive steps to stop digital identity theft. Get account monitoring services to track all of your financial transactions, looking out for anything suspicious. Also, set up fraud alerts on your credit file to alert you if anyone tries to use your credit information.