Credit monitoring services are in place to provide you with information about your credit history, most notably when suspicious activity takes place. The type of activity they generally report includes an increase in credit card usage, new accounts being created, suspicious spending activity, credit inquiries, purchases made in unlikely locations, delinquencies, and a whole lot more. Having all of that information available you can prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud.
Equifax and TransUnion are the two national credit report bureaus that are monitored in Canada. There are many monitoring companies that will give you access to reports from just one bureau, but you really need to be looking at the activities and scores from all bureaus in order to get a detailed picture of what is going on.
Investing in a monthly subscription will mean that you receive warnings about potentially fraudulent activity. This is becoming almost a necessity as the incidences of identity theft and credit card fraud continue to escalate. This is particularly true for Canadians who have been victimized before. Credit card companies will often alert those people in the weeks and months that follow the crime, but there is a time limit on alerts, which means the victims account will soon become vulnerable again. Maintaining a regular credit monitoring subscription means always having the peace of mind that all activity in your name is being monitored.
It should be noted, though, that not all companies offer the same level of vigilance. As mentioned, some of them will only monitor activity on one of the two bureaus. There are others that do not have the means to recognize certain activities that could be signs of fraud, such as a little used credit card or account that suddenly becomes very active again.
There is no such thing as a mandatory paid monitoring service, but it’s certainly worth paying to have that extra protection. The world we live in now is dominated by computers, which means electronic transactions are on the rise at an incredible rate. Thieves have all new ways of getting information, such as key loggers (software that records everything you type on your computer), phishing sites (websites that look like legitimate companies, but which are in fact scams), and electronic data snatchers (devices that can read your credit info when you are in their area). Those are just a few methods, with the number steadily on the rise.
While not every Canadian would benefit from having such a service, there are many more subscribers that would consider a credit monitoring service as a very worthwhile expenditure.