Carl has a Home Depot account and keeps a balance under $30.00. One month he decided to purchase a $300.00 item. The alert from the credit monitoring company says:
“A balance on your credit profile has increased 300 percent.”
Carl cannot see his exact state of credit at this time without ordering a full, up-to-date credit report. He panics and starts calling all of his creditors. It wasn’t until 4 hours went by that he realizes it was his Home Depot card.
If the credit monitoring product is not clear enough to explain the specifics of the alert it could do more harm than good. Some monitoring products only alert you and do not show a full report status, like with what happened to Carl; it alerted him that a change has occurred but didn’t tell him the details, leaving him in a panic.
To use a monitoring product well a consumer must understand how to read their credit profile and many people are too busy to even learn about their credit. They think that paying a company to watch their credit will insure them against any problems.
Here are some fast facts about credit monitoring programs and different things that may or not be offered depending on the company…
Some companies only provide you with info on 1 out of the 3 reporting agencies. This can leave you in the dark if a collection is reported on one of the other ones.
You may be updated of an alert when a 3rd party pulls your credit profile if you are shopping for a car, home, or business loan.
You may be updated with an alert when you open or close an account or have a new late payment.
Alerts come when balances change; although without having details can = Consumer Panic
Credit is not stagnant; changes can occur daily, weekly, and/or monthly depending on the activity of your credit profile.
Credit monitoring cannot protect you from being a victim of identity theft or fraud
Just typing this is making me anxious. Sounds overwhelming and it is. And there is much more information out there than the brief synopsis I am posting. What I can offer you now is the suggestion to educate yourself. If you don’t have the time or desire to learn the intricacies of how scores change I am going to plug the boutique-style credit monitoring product we created for consumers who want personalized service from our credit experts. We keep a watchful eye on changes to the credit files and contact each individual when/if suspicious activity occurs. There are other companies and products out there, just do your research! And why not start with a trusted source to help you, —- > learn more —— > ecs.professional.com.