You also have a federal right to a free annual copy of your credit report at each from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, said identity theft expert, attorney and Bentley University professor Steven J.J. Weisman.
Maintain as few online accounts as possible, delete those you no longer use, don’t reuse passwords, and don’t allow your computer to remember passwords, said Jason McNew, CEO of Stronghold Cyber Security.
Credit Karma offers free credit monitoring if you agree to receive advertising and offers from the company, Weisman said. Discover offers free monitoring of your Social Security number in the “dark web,” the part of the internet where personal information is bought and sold. Many other banks and credit cards offer free credit scores, which could alert you to unauthorized, adverse activity.
Perhaps the most effective way to prevent new accounts from being opened as a result of ID fraud is to set up a credit freeze or lock at TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, though only about 13 percent of people have done so, according to the J.D. Power survey.
Some states do not allow fees to be charged for this service, Edwards said. There may be small fees to unfreeze the account.
“Knowing what’s going on with your credit has become a very important part of living in our society,” said Jeff White, a financial analyst with FitSmallBusiness.com. “Having poor credit due to unauthorized activity can prevent you from qualifying for important credit events when they come up. “
Danaher said: “TransUnion is not a credit repair organization, and as such cannot provide credit repair advice. What we can do is stress the importance of understanding the principles of credit health, which are imperative for growing and maintaining a healthy credit score.”
“Why worry about a few bucks per month when you might get paid back in spades by any one of these additional services?” said Nick Sloane, president of Sloane Wealth Management, who opted to purchase a credit monitoring service years ago.
“View it for what it is: insurance. You have insurance for peace of mind,” Sloane said.