have found a gem in "credit monitoring". First, they collect your credit information and happily sell it to anyone and everyonw. Then, when the natural consequence of their actions (ID theft) are running rampant and people start to get scared and frustrated, what do they do? Start being more responsible with your information? Hardly.
Enter "credit monitoring" (angelic chorus plays). The nice, consumer friendly CRCs are helping to solve the problem! See? We'll monitor your file and let you know as soon as something looks suspicious. All for a low (or not so low) fee…
Well… Isn't that nice? There's just a few problems with this scenario:
It doesn't stop ID theft. It doesn't even slow it down. All a monitoring alert does is tell you that something suspicious is happening to your credit report.
There's a free alternative available as long as you're willing to order your credit reports a few times a year. The law requires CRCs to provide your credit report for free at least once a year. If you get your report from one of the three companies and 4 months later, get it from the next one and then 4 months later from the last, you can still get a fairly constant view of your credit situation.
Granted this doesn't give you the same access to your credit reports that monitoring would, but it's far cheaper.
Remember that there is only ONE legitimate site to get your free reports
Monitoring isn't necessary once you freeze your credit reports
It's not necessary once you freeze your credit reports. Monitoring is designed to alert you when your credit report changes or is accessed. Credit freezes block nearly any type of credit inquiry but also sends an alert that the access was attempted. So not only do you still know what's going on, you don't have to pay after freezing AND it actually blocks the access instead of just letting you know after it's too late.
Keep paying for credit monitoring if you feel it provides you a good value, but considering how cheap it is for the CRCs to send an e-mail alert whenever a database changes, I expect that whichever employee first pitched this low-cost, high-profit idea to management probably has a corner office and a ferrari now.
By the way, if you think I'm being a little harsh, perhaps you've heard of Freecreditreport.com where no free credit reports can be found. They make so much money on monitoring that they can afford to spend over $72 Million a year on their clever ads and were able to easily pay for the defense and resulting fines that resulted from their mulitple lawsuits and inquiries for deceptive practices.
On a lighter note, the Federal Trade Commission was so fed up with Freecreditreport.com, they made these awesome spoof videos: