There are a number of services available to help monitor your credit, identity, and title – all in an effort to prevent fraud and/or minimize the impact of fraud.
A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The alert stays on your report for one year. You can get a new alert after one year. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Be sure the credit bureaus have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two about your alert.
The three credit bureaus are:
Credit Freeze (also known as a security freeze)
This tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.
Once a credit freeze is in place with all 3 credit reporting agencies no one is able to open new accounts under your name until the freeze is lifted by you. They typically cost $5 – $10 per instance (depending on your state) and sometimes require 1-3 business days to take effect. However, if you have been a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to a free credit freeze.
Equifax is currently offering a free credit freeze, but it will not prevent access to your credit report at any other credit reporting agency.
A credit lock is similar to a credit freeze in that no new accounts can be opened and you need to make sure it is placed with all 3 reporting agencies. The difference is that unlocking your credit can be done with an app or online, making it more immediate to lift than a credit freeze.
Typically there is a fee and that fee can change after an introductory period, so read the details carefully before signing up. In some cases a credit lock is more expensive than a credit freeze.
Credit monitoring is a service to help you watch the activity on your credit versus a credit freeze or a credit lock which prevents access to your accounts. Credit monitoring services will comb the internet to see if there is possibly fraudulent activity on your accounts and alert you immediately of any changes to your credit report.
Many companies offer credit monitoring. Free services are available from companies like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Quizzle. The major credit card companies, including American Express, Citibank, Chase, and Discover, also offer free credit monitoring and you don’t need to be a cardholder to use them. Most of the credit monitoring programs focus on ONE credit reporting agency.
Identity Monitoring is looking for suspicious or fraudulent activity involving your identity via bank accounts, criminal databases, loans, and other places your social security number could be used. It is a more robust offering than credit monitoring which only tracks activity that hits your credit report.
Identity theft protection services are typically offered through a monthly or annual subscription. They tend to include credit monitoring through all three of the credit reporting agencies as well as alerts showing how personally identifiable information (PII), such as Social Security Number or email address, is used in ways that may not show up on your credit report. Many of these services also include things like Dark Web Monitoring, Child Monitoring, Lost Wallet assistance, dedicated fraud assistance agents, and in many cases Identity Theft Insurance.
There are many services out there. We have selected 3 that our research showed to be the most comprehensive for high net worth individuals. We have narrowed our list to services that monitor all three credit bureaus, have up to $1 million in ID-theft assistance, and comprehensive monitoring of financial activities and personal information.
|Service||Key Features||Pricing||Visit Website|
|LifeLock Ultimate Plus||
|Identity Guard Premier||
|Identity Force UltraSecure + Credit||
Home Title Lock is the premier title monitoring and alert service for the title of your property. You will receive an alert when new documents are recorded that effect your property value or ownership. These services have experts to help if you are the victim of title fraud, starting with the filing of an Affidavit & Notice of False Filing to alert industry professionals of potential fraud. Title Lock offers a monthly ($14.99 monthly) or an annual ($149 per year) payment plan. Visit website
All information presented here is based on company web sites as of April 2019. Individual offerings are subject to change at any time. First Long Island Investors, LLC does not endorse any of the services mentioned in this section of our website but presents this information to facilitate research on providers for our clients.