Some services may help you correct problems if identity theft
occurs. They may also offer identity theft insurance generally
- Certain out-of-pocket losses
- Chat room monitoring
- Public record searches
- Monitoring of black market websites
- Virus protection software
They often include a credit monitoring service that monitors your
credit history and provides periodic credit scores.
Prices and services offered by identity monitors vary widely. The
cost of identity monitoring services varies from as little as a few
dollars a month to over $15 per month.
Before signing up for a service, make sure you understand what
you're getting. This is particularly important when you're offered
a "free" service. Before accepting a "free" offer, check for any
hidden trial periods, fees or cancellation requirements. Also check
with your local consumer protection agency and State Attorney General's office to see if complaints have been filed against the company.
You should be aware that free and low cost services are also
available to protect consumers including:
A security freeze. Putting a security freeze on your credit report will generally
prevent new credit from being opened in your name. Just remember
that if you put a security freeze on your credit file, you'll need
to unfreeze your file before you can open new accounts in your
Under a federal law effective September 21, 2018, you may freeze
and unfreeze your credit record for free at the three nationwide
credit reporting companies Experian , TransUnion , and Equifax . The federal law requiring free security freezes does not apply
to someone who requests your credit report for employment,
tenant-screening, or insurance purposes. Other credit reporting
companies, for example employment or tenant screening companies,
might charge a fee to place and lift a security freeze based on
your state laws.
A fraud alert. If you believe that you've been the victim of identity theft or
fraud (or are about to become one), you can place a fraud alert on
your credit report. Note that a fraud alert does not prevent a
lender from opening credit in your name, but it does require a
lender to take certain measures to verify your identity first. An
initial fraud alert lasts up to 1 year unless you decided to remove
Tip: You can request a free credit report from a nationwide credit
reporting company once every 12 months. By requesting the reports
separately, you can monitor your credit files at no cost more
frequently throughout the year. Some credit card companies now are
providing a credit score on your credit card statement, which is
another free way to monitor aspects of your credit.
If you have a problem with credit reporting, you can submit a
complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).