With so much attention on the recent data breaches, consumers and business owners are concerned about the security of their own personal information. When your credit card information is out there and you’ve entrusted it with other businesses, you want to know it is secure and is not going to wind up in the hands of identity thieves.
Many consumers and businesses are turning to credit monitoring services, hoping to gain an extra level of protection and additional peace of mind when sharing credit card information online and with other businesses. The question is, are these services really worth it? How much protection do they offer?
The answer is: it varies.
Upfront, there are services that claim to offer protection from identity theft and fraud. The problem is, that’s not how they work. They do offer some protection, but it comes down to how you use the service. Typically, these services will notify you when a new line of credit is opened in your name (or an attempt is made). Some will notify you if a certain limit is exceeded.
The problem is, like cyber-breach insurance, credit monitoring services aren’t actively protecting you. They aren’t going to do anything to stop an identity thief from taking and using your personal information. As the name suggests, they merely monitor activity and notify you. Ultimately, the success of the service is dependent on how quickly you act when you are notified of fraudulent activity. It’s up to you to contact your credit issuer and the credit bureaus to halt and mitigate damage.
This service is designed for those who want the extra security and want an additional pair of eyes on their credit. For individuals or businesses that have several lines of credit open, it can be ideal—but it should not be your first line of defense.
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