By Ryan Graves on Nov 11, 2019

You can absolutely do credit monitoring on your own, but paying for a service could help you stay on top of it without having to put forth much effort.  Freezing your credit would be the best way to prevent shenanigans, and thanks to the FTC, it is now free to do so at all three credit agencies.  You may also be able to check with your credit card company to see if it offers any services or discounts to any monitoring services.  Unless you plan on using credit sometime soon, the freeze would be the best option.  To freeze your credit, you would need to contact the three agencies individually.  The critical thing to understand that a monitoring service only helps you watch your credit, so it does not prevent identity theft or fraud like a credit freeze would.  Fun fact: Freezes can be temporarily lifted if you need to have your credit checked, but you would still need to have the freeze lifted at each agency.

 

Equifax credit freeze:  via the website or call 1-800-349-9960

TransUnion:  via the website or call 1-888-909-8872

Experian:  via the website or call 1-888-397-3742

 

Should you want to enlist a credit monitoring service:

PrivacyGuard

-Provides monitoring for all your credit scores and credit reports

-Basic ID Protection starts at $9.99 a month and monitors all records for your information, and includes up to $1 million in identity theft protection

-Credit Protections is $19.99 a month and provides the reports and scores, daily credit monitoring, and a credit simulator (fun!).

-For $24.99 per month, you can have both plans

-Offers a 14-day free trial

 

Credit Karma

-It's free

-It does not provide reports, just scores, but does monitor for unusual activity

-Only provides scores to two of the reporting agencies, the third does not participate with Credit Karma

 

Identity Force

-The UltraSecure plan provides identity monitoring only, $17.95 per month

-Adding on the Credit Plan would monitor your identity and your credit, $23.95 per month

-The add on would include $1 million in insurance

-The credit plan will also provide credit monitoring with all three bureaus, credit reports and scores, and a credit simulator

-This option has the most features

 

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