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2007-03-19 01:11:05

What Kind of Credit Protection is Right for You?

To protect you and your family from the undesirable and sometimes fatal consequences of identity theft, you should acquire at least the basic knowledge of the tools to protect your identity and prevent such unlawful acts.

It is also very important if you are eager to take new credit card deals and build good credit history. Such tools are as follows: fraud alert, credit monitoring and credit freeze, which are distinguished by the density of the measures taken.

Identity theft, being a wide-spread and fast-developing kind of law infringement, is an issue of utter concern for both the customers and the government. Since February, 2005, it was officially disclosed that more than 90 million Americans have lost their personal financial information, fraudulent credit card deals and transactions having been made.

And one of the reasons for it is that people either lack credit protection information or can't orientate in the motley mass of the data. As a result, most of these people now have to rebuild their credit and count on no better than bad/no credit card applications.

In spite of a number of measures taken and a succession of laws passed, people's confidential credit information is still too easily available, plus credit granting practices by banks and credit reporting agencies are slipshod enough to let identity fraudsters open accounts in the victims' names.

Fraud Alert

With the help of fraud alert you can always be in the know of who and when issues your credit. In this case a credit card or insurance company (any company that uses your credit) is to call you before they can give out credit, open accounts, modify credit lines or credit charges or in any other way influence your assets.

Fraud alert service is free, and you can order it just submitting your request to one of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can do it by phone or in the written form. Other agencies will be also informed about your request, as they share all share information.

You place the free alert by contacting just one of the three major credit bureaus and requesting it. The bureaus share this information with each other, and placing the alert can be done over the phone. A fraud alert doesn't restrict your ability to make credit purchases.

There are two types of fraud alerts initial (for 90 days) and extended alert (for 7 years).

Credit Freeze

You can choose credit freeze option as a reliable prevention of undesired access to your credit. Nowadays, 27 states offer the service of freezing your credit. But 23 of the states allow all customers to freeze their credit and 4 states allow this only if you have been the victim of identity theft.

Credit freeze absolutely blocks access to your credit for insurance and credit card companies, employers etc. unless you decide to unfreeze your credit. Still, this service is not free. While locking out potential thieves, the credit freeze also limits your ability to take advantage of instant credit or in-store credit offers. Applications for new employment could be affected since potential employers would not be allowed to do background checks with a freeze in place.

Credit Monitoring

For annual payment ranging from $43 to $150 you can keep an eye on your credit receiving detailed daily reports by phone, e-mail, sms etc. Thus, you are notified of new accounts, credit inquiries, address changes, public records, changes to current accounts and other new items in your credit.

Against the widely-spread conviction that credit monitoring prevents identity theft, it doesn't, but it simply allows to early detect any unauthorized actions thus preventing large financial damages. Besides, if you use credit monitoring service, you can count on possible loss replacement and other benefits (for example, blocking pre-approval letters), varying at different companies.

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