Imagine opening up a credit card statement to find the account was maxed out at a retail store 1,000 miles away. And that scenario might not even be the worst one to deal with. Think about the chaos of being investigated by the police for writing a series of bad checks. The checks were written from an account someone else opened in another state. Welcome to the unfortunate world of credit and identity theft. Sadly, a lot of people find themselves experiencing such disasters without warning. Since none of their accounts were being monitored, identity and credit thieves were able to compromise vital information.
Credit and Identity Theft Explained
Credit and identity theft occur when someone accesses private and personal information for financial gain. The information needed to open up a line of credit or a checking account is, truthfully, very minimal. Only a small amount of information is required to call up a bank and pretend to be a checking or savings account holder. Name, address, phone number, and social security number would be enough in most circumstances. Unless financial accounts are being properly monitored, no one learns about these occurrences until it is too late.
Information Gets Compromised
Poorly disposing of personal information is one way identity thieves gain access to personal information. Throwing away old banking and credit card statements into the trash is one of the most common ways data is stolen. Tearing up the paper into “little bits” really is not a safe strategy either.
Phishing schemes and other online breaches are other means in which identity and financial information is stolen. With a credit card/identity theft monitoring service on the job, such instances can be met with a response.
Monitoring is Not Prevention
Credit and identity theft monitoring services do not prevent compromises from occurring. The services are just not able to do anything of the sort. The services can, however, keep track of account balances, the opening of new accounts, address changes, and other activities related to a person’s name and social security number. When a change occurs, the monitoring service sends a notice to the client. The client can then respond.
For example, if a new bank account is opened, an email or text message may be issued to the monitoring service’s client. Upon learning of the activity, the client can then call the bank and the FBI or local law enforcement to deal with things before they get out of control. Quick reporting is a must.
Monitoring may not prevent the initial instance of theft, but the impact of the theft could be curtailed. Again, a quick response is better than no response. Learning about a mysterious change in credit score right away is far better then learning about the damage six months later after being denied for a loan or lease.
Additional Monitoring Service Benefits
Various different features and plans are provided by top monitoring services. A service may keep tabs on public records. This would include arrest records. Someone who has compromised a person’s name could end up being arrested under the individual’s identity. Clearly, a disastrous situation such as that would need to be fixed without any delay.
Even the “dark web” could be monitored. A stolen password might show up for sale on the internet. Services that monitor these activities can sound an alarm if a name, email, and password combination turns up for sale.
Insurance may be offered by monitoring services. If the service does not catch an incident, then the insurance coverage could pay for any legal or other costs related to the company’s lapse. Paying a lawyer to straighten out a serious mess can be costly. Insurance could cover such expenses.
In addition to preserving financial health, mental health can be supported by a monitoring service. The stress and aggravation resulting from identity and credit theft might be enormous. Lives can be ruined when identity thieves are successful in their nefarious tasks. In the current internet world, threats to identity and financial information are hiding around all corners. Investing in a monitoring service makes perfect sense. A person and his or her family’s financial and mental health both need to be protected. Such services offer a solution.