These are the compelling reasons for you to be constantly aware of identity thieves: One of the best ways to detect identity theft as quickly as possible is to monitor key changes to all three of your credit reports on a daily basis!
Knowing your credit reports are being monitored every day provides peace of mind that allows you to face the threat of identity theft with less fear, knowing you have a credit "watchdog" constantly scanning your credit reports for key changes that can alert you of potential identity theft.
Identity Theft-Finally Some Good News!
Once you get the facts on identity theft, you'll want to monitor your credit 24/7, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing all three of your credit reports are being watched every minute of every day.
Checking Your Credit Once a Year is Not Enough
As important as checking your reports are on a yearly basis we don't feel that a single yearly report is adequate to take a truly proactive stance against identity theft.
"We strongly recommend monitoring key changes to all three of your credit reports on a daily basis."
Identity theft is a crime that is occurring every day; we feel that you should be monitoring key changes on all three of your credit reports every single day. When you see the psychological toll identity theft takes on its victims, and the amount of time and money it takes to clear a person's name, you will understand why you need to discover identity theft as soon as possible.
Here are the Identity Theft Numbers:
- Victims Per Year in U.S. : Approximately 10 million
- Victims Over Past 5 Years: Approximately 27 million
- Total Fraud: Estimated at $50 Billion Dollars
- Total Amount of Time Spent Per Victim: 600 Hours
- According to an Experian/Gallup Poll: 1 in 5 Americans say they've been victims of ID Theft
The above numbers are alarming but they do not come close to capturing the greatest impact identity theft has on its victims: As noted above, it is the psychological toll identity theft takes on its victims that is widely regarded as identity theft's worst blow.
"Doesn't anyone believe me? Can't someone help me? Won't this ever go away?"
It is filing report after report, not being taken seriously by authorities, creditors who don't want to help you track down the criminal, don't want to follow up on the loss but would rather "write it off." It is being perceived as the criminal rather than the victim. It is the loss of peace of mind knowing that someone has stolen your identity and you do not know right now, this minute, this day what crime is being perpetrated in your name. It is the police recommending that you carry a police report with you at all times so you can prove that your record is tainted for a reason. It is trying to restore your financial reputation. Ask an identity theft victim, and you'll find that all of these conditions have an equal or greater impact on identity victims than the actual monetary losses.
Here is what credit monitoring provides to help you detect potential identity theft:
- Unlimited access to your credit report and credit score 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Daily monitoring of all three credit reports: Experian, TransUnion, Equifax
- Email alerts when key changes appear on any one of your three credit reports
- $50,000 in Identity Theft Insurance (available in all states except NY)
- Fraud resolution specialists to assist you should you become a victim
Cost of the above: For the first month: $0.00. This will provide you with the opportunity to experience credit monitoring and unlimited access to your credit report and credit score for FREE. Thereafter, credit monitoring is just $12. per month, or about a cup of coffee a week for constant credit monitoring. Small price to pay for something that could help you detect identity theft as quickly as possible, provide you up to $50,000 in insurance and help you straighten out the whole mess. It's all about sleeping better at night.
Identity theft is a major problem. It is an easy crime to commit, hard crime to prosecute, and it pays very well. These days criminals would rather steal your identity and personal information than the cash in your wallet. Maybe it is not as violent as other crimes, but as noted above, the sad and frustrating aftermath of identity theft is the most compelling reason to monitor credit on a daily basis!
It is important to understand that when you are an identity theft victim, you often find out that you've been victimized after you've been violated multiple times. For instance, identity theft occurs in month one. A credit card account is opened in your name by an identity thief. Since you are not monitoring your credit on a daily basis, you don't notice that a new account inquiry and new account is now on your credit files. What happens next? In month two, a second credit card might be opened, or a personal loan is taken out. In the coming months, the ID thief defaults on payments, your credit score starts to decline, collections appear on your account, eventually leading to public records on file. You're left to wonder what hit you, and a big part of the problem was not the first identity theft event, but what happened in the months following.
"Once an identity thief steals your information and assumes your identity, they wreak havoc on your credit score, your financial reputation, and your life."
We've heard more stories than we can count of identity theft victims who couldn't believe how long it took them to discover that they had become victims of identity theft. It's likely that they would've discovered ID theft much sooner had daily credit monitoring been in place. If someone tries to open up an account in your name using your credit, credit monitoring would send you an an email alert indicating that a new application for credit had been made in your name! You could see the email, check the new inquiry, know that it wasn't a new account application that you made, and begin the process of stopping the identity thief cold in their tracks. Beyond checking for new account inquiries, daily credit monitoring checks for other key signs of identity theft including public records, changes in personal information, payment information, etc.
There are countless stories of individuals who experience the following identity theft "wake up" calls:
- A creditor calls regarding an overdue account that is not yours.
- Your credit score begins to take a dive because of late payments -- on accounts that you don't recognize.
- You receive bills from an account that you did not open.
- You are turned down on a credit app for a credit card, loan, mortgage or other credit due to unauthorized debts.
- You receive bills from a credit card account that you did not open.
- Your statements do not arrive on time, because your contact info has been changed to hide fraudulent charges.
- Your bank account is suddenly depleted.
Suffice it to say, identity theft is a real problem, and it is getting more common. 10 million victims a year makes it an epidemic, and 300 million total hours spent trying to erase the effects of identity theft makes it more than a minor nuisance which is how law enforcement tends to treat it. Try to clean up the mess of identity theft, and as bad as the actual incidences of identity theft, the stories of what victims go through in trying to clear their name makes the monetary damages seem minimal! When you are an ID Theft victim, you are often treated like the criminal, rather than the victim. You are often doubted, and forced to go through a gauntlet of process and procedure in an effort to clear your name.
The bottom line: While there is no foolproof way to prevent identity theft, there are precautions you can take to minimize your chances of becoming a victim, and there is something you can do to help detect potential identity theft as quickly as possible: Get daily credit monitoring to receive email alerts to notify you of any key change that appears on any one of your three credit reports: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.