You get hold of your credit report one fine day. You take a glance at it and the shock that you get hits you hard. Your prim and proper credit report has gone for a toss with hefty items being listed on it without your knowledge! You feel you’re at your wits end and wish all of it were a bad dream. Well, it’s time to get real. Your credit report is not safe anymore when identity theft is growing with leaps and bounds.
Most victims of identity fraud come to know about their plight when the situation gets out of control and they are left with huge debts that they are not responsible for. But, it definitely does not mean that identity theft cannot be prevented. In fact, it is quite easy to avoid it; all you need to do is monitor your credit report regularly. There are several ways to do it.
If you do not know how to monitor your credit score, then here are some easy strategies that you can adopt in order to monitor it:
- Get copies of your credit report: You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus in a year. So, you can order one copy per quarter and keep a watchful eye on your credit report throughout the year. The moment you discover any discrepancy on your report, you should either dispute it or request the credit bureaus that they verify the listing. You can also get your free annual credit report online or you can also buy copies of your credit report if you have already exhausted the free copies. In fact, that will help you monitor your report more frequently.
- Find the cause of credit rejection: If you are denied credit on the basis of a bad credit report, do not forget to ask the creditor from which credit bureau did they get your report. And then, get a free copy of credit report from that bureau and find out the cause of credit rejection so you can work on fixing the wrong information on your credit report.
- Place Fraud Alert: Placing fraud alert on your credit report can be a good way to prevent identity theft. You can place fraud alerts by contacting the credit bureaus. It sends you a notification to confirm your identity every time an item is added to or modified on your credit report.
- Use Security Freeze: A credit Report Security Freeze can also placed like fraud alert. It will require a password before your report can be accessed. Placing security freeze, unlike fraud alert, will require you to pay a fee.
- Check your accounts online: If your bank gives you an option to access your accounts online, then do sign up for the option. With it, you can view your accounts regularly to ensure no unauthorized changes are made to your accounts.
- Subscribe to a Credit Monitoring Service: You can also subscribe to a credit monitoring service and get your credit report monitored from time to time. But remember, such subscriptions are quite expensive, though credit monitoring is an excellent way to detect identity theft. Also make sure you shop around before subscribe to a particular credit monitoring service. Often these monitoring services offer a short trial period where you can evaluate the service’s features and decide if it is the right option for you.
You can choose any of the above strategies that, you think, will be within your means and work best for you. A smart and regular monitoring strategy can effectively help you detect any scam action on your credit report so you can fix it before it gets worse.