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If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft, you will likely have to go through a time consuming and expensive process of trying to clear your name or credit report. You will need to file paperwork with different financial and credit firms. Clearing up all of the paperwork and disputes is a lengthy process that can take weeks, months, and in more serious cases; years.

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, you can use a credit monitoring service to help you monitor your credit. The best companies are able to help you monitor your credit reports and activities, along with any financial and credit accounts. They should also work with you to place fraud alerts or freezes on your credit file. This will remove your name from marketing mailing lists.

Before you begin searching for the best credit monitoring service, there are a few questions that you should consider, such as what credit monitoring services are available to you and where can you find free reviews of different credit monitoring services.

Where To Report Identity Theft

Identitytheft.gov is the US Government bureau department where people can report potential identity theft crimes and find out information on what the next steps are. Identity theft is a rapidly growing crime, as millions of people are victimized every year, resulting in billions of dollars in financial loss.

Paid Or Free Credit Monitoring Service Plan

If your primary concern is monitoring, then you’ll be better off going with one of the free credit monitoring services. Those credit monitoring companies will notify a consumer whenever someone else tries to open an account in their name. However, if you are seeking additional protection and coverage, then a paid subscription service may be your best option.

Information That The Credit Companies Monitor

Your Name/Identity

Some of the accounts that will be monitored include any new loans, such as student loans, mortgage loans, business loans, or retail loans.

Credit Reports

The company will monitor any credit inquiries on your credit report. Popular inquiries include auto loans, rentals, and installment loans.

Monitoring Transaction

The company will look at how often you are heading to the bank using your credit card, and the length of time of you trying to apply for a loan. The company will also monitor any changes to your credit, as well as any changes to any loan balances such as student loans or a mortgage. The company will look at the status of these different types of information to make sure that there isn’t anything suspicious going on that could be a sign of identity theft. The company will also monitor issues such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, collections, and repossession. Any civil actions filed against you will also be monitored.

Best Credit Monitoring Services

Credit Karma is a free monitoring service that provides a number of different services and features. Credit Karma is powered by TransUnion. Credit Karma tracks your credit report daily, and all of your personal information is analyzed to display credit card offers to you.

Identity Force

Identity Force will give you an instant notification of any suspicious activity. They search criminal, court and public records throughout the country to make sure your identity is not being used illegally. Identity Force has a child watch feature that will protect children and other members of your family.

LifeLock

LifeLock offers multiple packages; Standard, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. LifeLock uses a unique combination of alerting, detecting, and restoring. LifeLock relies on data and superior technology to make sure that you are receiving the best possible protection.

Identity Guard

Identity Guard monitors the 3 credit bureaus; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You will receive multiple credit score updates throughout the year, along with lost wallet protection. Identity Guard uses its computer protection software to monitor the internet and public records, looking for any suspicious activities that may involve you.

Things to Consider

Please be aware that no company or individual can totally protect your from becoming a victim of identity theft. You can help avoid potential risks by watching how you shop online, as well as by keeping your social security number hidden from other people.