Identity theft is a big deal. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Council, more than 30 million people in the United States were victims of identity theft in the last 36 months. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information.
Identity theft criminals can:
- Change your mailing address
- Open bank accounts in your name
- Commit crimes under your name instead of their own
- Take out loans
- Forge checks that wipe out your bank account
If you’re concerned about identity theft, there are services that can help you prevent yourself from becoming a victim, including credit monitoring and identity monitoring. Credit monitoring tracks the activity on your credit reports and alerts you when there are changes. These could be changes to personal information, credit limit increases, or even the opening of a new credit card account.
Credit monitoring doesn’t extend to your social security or bank accounts, so don’t forget to keep an eye on them. Identity monitoring on the other hand, scans public databases and web information and sends out alerts if it sees your personal information is being used. For example, if your social security number is found on a loan, this service will alert you. Then, you can take action to recover your identity.
What are the pros and cons of ID theft monitoring services?
Can you monitor your own identity?
You can monitor your own identity by checking your bank accounts and credit card statements, signing up for fraud alert, and receiving monthly credit reports. The bottom line is purchasing an identity monitoring service will not protect from identity theft. It will arm you with additional support by alerting you when it finds suspicious activity, but the best way to protect yourself is to stay informed and be vigilant about protecting your information.