Latest credit monitoring articles

7 Tips for Safeguarding Your Identity While on Vacation

Posted on 2015-07-08 09:00:59

Vacation woman smiling on tropical beach summer holidays with palm trees. Portrait of pretty happy female model eating exotic Asian Dragon Fruit.Vacations are meant for relaxing and forgetting the cares of the world. But when you travel, your risk of identify theft goes up. Most people let their guard down while on vacation, and identity thieves take advantage of that and are at their busiest during the summer months. Here are 7 tips for safeguarding your identity while on vacation. 1. Don’t leave telltale signs that you are on vacation. Make arrangements to stop mail and newspaper delivery while you are away. Remember that mail often has information of great value to an identity thief. 2. Travel light when it comes to your wallet. Old-fashioned pickpocketing is still used by identity thieves. Don’t carry unnecessary cards in your wallet that make a thief’s work easier.

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3. Use caution at ATMs. Identity thieves use ATM skimming to capture account numbers and PINs. ATMs at a bank branch tend to be more secure. 4. Wait until you return to share your vacation on social media. You may think you are sharing with trusted friends, but the truth is it is hard to know where your privacy stops and starts on social media sites. Wait until you are home to broadcast that your home was vacant. 5. Limit information on luggage tags. Really, you just need a phone number for an honest person to reach you if your luggage goes astray. Having your home address visible not only lets someone who steals your bag know your address (and that you are not home), but that same information is visible to many people who are standing or sitting near you. 6. Don’t leave personal information in a hotel room. It may be inconvenient to take your laptop, credit cards and other personal information with you every time you leave your hotel room, but it’s the safest way to safeguard your information. You simply cannot control access to a hotel room. 7. Monitor your accounts while you are away. If possible, use a secure connection to check your bank and credit card accounts while you are away. But if your only option is an unsecured Wifi, it is not worth the risk. This could be a perfect time to try a credit monitoring service that will alert you by email to any significant changes to your credit report.

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Why Monitor Your Credit

Posted on 2015-06-24 09:00:39

Credit monitoring simply means paying attention to your credit report. But why? Don’t the credit bureaus do that? No, the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) are merely repositories of the information sent to them by credit card issuers and other lenders.woman-coffee-shop Credit monitoring is an important concept because credit affects so many aspects of our lives. Most people know that what’s in your credit report can affect whether or not you qualify for a loan or the terms of a loan. Some people are surprised to learn that employers, insurance companies, utility companies, collection agencies and landlords use credit reports. Credit can even be a deal breaker in personal relationships. With so much riding on your credit, credit monitoring makes good sense. A credit monitoring service is a convenient and cost-effective way to stay on top of your credit report. It takes the burden off of you. Whenever there are significant changes your credit report, you automatically receive an alert—usually email. Credit monitoring puts you at the helm. Here are 4 important reasons to consider credit monitoring.

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Credit monitoring helps maintain an accurate credit report. With a credit monitoring service you will know about significant changes as they happen, putting you in a position to take swift action to correct any mistakes. With credit monitoring, there are no surprises when a creditor—or anyone else—pulls your credit report. Credit monitoring may detect signs of identity theft. While nothing can prevent identity theft, credit monitoring looks specifically for the types of information that could signal identity theft in progress. Credit monitoring puts time on your side, helping to minimize the damage done by identity theft. Credit monitoring tells you who is looking at your credit report. Creditors, employers, landlords and other business entities may have a legal and legitimate right to view your credit report. But some of those looks, called inquiries, can have a negative impact on your credit and credit score. Credit monitoring lets you know whenever there’s a new inquiry so you know who is looking at your credit report. Credit monitoring is convenient. A credit monitoring service frees you up to tend to other areas of your life without worrying about checking your credit report. Knowing you will be notified whenever there are significant changes to your credit report brings peace of mind. The benefits of a credit monitoring service outweigh the nominal cost. An accurate credit report is important to ensure you aren’t paying for someone else’s mistake.
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Steps for Tax Identity Theft Victims

Posted on 2015-04-15 09:00:14

Tax season is just about over. Or is it? Does it end when you file your return? Is it over when you receive your tax refund? If you are one of the many who will become a tax identity theft victim this year, it may not be over for a long time, possibly in 2016! You may look back and think filing your return was a walk in the park compared to dealing with tax identify theft.woman-phone-worried Tax identity theft fraud is, unfortunately, an easy crime to commit. All it takes are a name, date of birth and Social Security numbers—all pieces of information that are fairly easy to find. Tax identity thieves are not procrastinators. They know they have to file a return before you do. They may file a return before you have even received an earnings record from your employer.

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How will you know if you have become a tax identity theft victim? If you are filing your return electronically, it may bounce if someone has already filed using your personal information. If the IRS suspects you may be an identity theft victim, they will mail (not email!) you a letter. Here are steps you should take if you may be a tax identity theft victim.
    Respond to the IRS. Be persistent even if it means a long wait on hold. If you used a tax preparer to file your return, notify the preparer unless you have reason to believe he or she may be involved with the crime. You may need to manually file your return. Complete and submit an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). Contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to add a fraud alert to your file. (When a bureau is notified, it is required to notify the other two.) File an Identity Theft Affidavit with the (Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency that tracks and oversees identity theft. File a police report. Some police departments don’t want to take a report, but insist on it because it may come in handy as you continue to resolve the damage of identity theft.
A simple Google search should lead you to the forms referenced above. There is no foolproof way to avoid becoming a tax identity theft victim, but guarding your personal information—especially your Social Security number--can reduce your risk. Check your Social Security earnings report annually for incorrect data. Keep tabs on your credit report with a credit monitoring service that alerts you whenever there are significant changes to your credit report such as new credit being opened.
Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256

Credit Report Mistakes Can Pull Your Credit Score Down

Posted on 2015-03-05 09:00:46

Imagine this scene. You’ve been keeping your eyes out for a deal on a new car. You’re a savvy shopper, and you’ve finally found the one you want. It’s time to negotiate with the dealer. The negotiations don’t go as smoothly as you thought they would. You are offered a less-than-optimal rate on a car loan. How can that be?The happy woman showing the key of her new car It could be that a credit report error has caused your credit score to drop. Does that really happen? You bet it does. Credit report mistakes are more common than most people think. The Federal Trade Commission reports that 1 in 20 Americans has an error on at least one of their credit reports. Five percent have an error serious enough to affect access to credit.

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Think about the ways a credit report error can hurt you: • It can hurt your ability to get a credit card. • It can affect the interest rate you pay for loans. • It can hinder your qualifying for loans including mortgages. • It can affect your ability to rent. • It can affect your access to wireless service or utilities. • It can even affect your ability to get a job or promotion. Credit reports are dynamic summaries of your credit history. Creditors are routinely updating their information with the credit bureaus. What looks like a squeaky clean credit report today could have a mistake—or fraud--on it tomorrow. What is a consumer to do? Know what is on your credit report. Just about everyone who has used credit has a credit report, yet many people have never looked at theirs. Many others look once, then forget about it. There is too much at stake to not know what your credit report says about you. Credit monitoring offers an easy and affordable way to stay on top of your credit report. While you go about life, your credit report is monitored daily. Whenever there is a significant change that you should verify, you are alerted. If you are aware of the change, no action is necessary. If it’s a mistake or fraud, you have put time on your side for taking action to get your credit report back to a true reflection of your credit history. Don’t put off checking your credit report or credit score because you are afraid of what you will find. Knowledge is power. Maintain an accurate credit report to help you achieve your financial goals.
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Make Your Lousy Holiday Credit Score Shine

Posted on 2015-01-08 03:20:27

IMG_2833Did the holidays take a toll on your credit score? If you are nodding Yes, there is hope. While you can’t expect an instant credit score fix, these 3 tips can help your lousy holiday credit score shine again. Pay Down Credit Card Balances. If at all possible, pay more than the minimum balance due. Not only will you pay less interest and lower your debt faster, this also helps lower your credit utilization ratio—the amount you owe compared to your available credit. That ratio is an important factor used to calculate your credit score. If you used your credit cards for convenience or to earn rewards, don’t wait for those January statements to pay down the balances. Most credit card issuers will report your statement closing balance to the credit bureaus. If you can, pay down the balances so you are using no more than thirty percent of your available credit when your statement closes.

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Make On Time Payments. If you really got in over your head and you can’t pay your credit card balances in full, be sure to make at least the minimum payment on time. Late payments can drag your credit score down in a hurry. And surprisingly, a single late payment will hurt a good credit score more than it will hurt a poor credit score. Become Intimate with Your Credit Report. There is too much at stake to not know what your credit report is saying about you. Credit report errors do happen, and some credit report errors can have a serious impact on your credit score. Since new information is continually added to your credit report, a credit monitoring service is an easy and effective way to ensure you stay on top of the information in your credit report. What Not To Do • Don’t resort to a payday loan to get your out of a post-holiday bind. The interest on those loans is astronomical and will almost certainly make things worse. • Be careful about transferring balances to an introductory interest-free credit card. Transfer fees often negate the interest savings. Once the introductory period is over, you may have a higher interest rate than the account you started with. And if that balance isn’t paid in full during the introductory period, the entire transfer amount may become subject to interest.

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