Is a Credit Monitoring Service Worth It?
Jay Evan Schoenfeldt | February 23rd, 2021
Is a credit monitoring service worth the money?
From my point of view, without a doubt. In addition to being a broker, I invest in real estate myself. Life has shown me that investment opportunities can present themselves at any time. Those who are nimble, secure the deal. The cost of a credit monitoring service pales to the cost of lost opportunity.
You need to be able to move when the time is right. This goes for conventional homebuyers, too. Shopping for a home takes dedication and persistence. The last thing I would want is for anyone's efforts to be undermined by identity theft. You work too hard to allow something preventable to control your future; especially, when it comes to something as important as buying a home.
I witness the emotional ladder homebuyers climb before finally closing on a home. The time it takes to save enough money for a down payment, the lengthy discussions with their partner agreeing on “needs” vs. “wants,” late nights cruising the internet’s home inventory, and touring homes with their Realtor in person. It’s huge. By itself, it can be a wild roller coaster ride filled with eagerness, fear, excitement, frustration, hope, and finally delight once you have found the perfect place for you. You want to ensure your identity is secure and safe so that the perfect place you found can be the perfect place you bought.
Here Are Some Additional Tips
Create strong passwords.
Try to use various passwords for different accounts, and include a mix of numbers, characters and symbols. Create a really random password. You might think your phone is a convenient place to keep track of your passwords, but it’s best to keep your passwords elsewhere.
Be smart about updating passwords.
Update your passwords as frequently as every three months. If you have the slightest suspicion
you might have been hacked, you definitely should change them a.s.a.p.
Pay for a credit monitoring service.
A monitoring service allows you to get real-time notifications when there is activity on your credit report. If a thief attempts to open a new account in your name, apply for credit or transfer money out of your bank account, you will know about it instantly.
Review your accounts.
Get in the habit of carefully looking over your bank and credit card accounts every month. If you notice anything odd, call your bank or credit card company right away.
Don’t over-share on social media.
Thieves are hunting social media for info like your email address, birth date, and even your children’s names are used for scamming and account theft. Leave your personal info off the social media posts.
Shield your computer.
Keep personal and financial information secure on your computer with firewall, virus, and spyware protection software.
Don’t take the bait.
Scam artists love to “phish,” which means they catch victims by pretending to be trustworthy sources like banks, stores, government agencies, and so on. Legitimate companies don’t typically request information by way of email or phone, so don’t be afraid to ask questions when a business calls.
Safeguard your Social Security number.
Never give out your entire Social Security number over the phone or online. Usually, a company will only ask for the last four digits of your S.S.N., so if someone asks for your full number, you should be wary.
Don’t leave a paper trail.
Any mail you get with private information, like a bank account or credit card statement, should be shredded before you put it into the trash.
Be aware of credit card skimming.
A “skimmer” is essentially a card reader that grabs the data of a card’s magnetic stripe, making it easy for a thief to create cloned cards or access your bank account to steal money. Always keep an eye on your card.
Consider identity theft insurance.
Identity theft protection coverage helps you quickly and conveniently get back on track if you’re victimized by identity scammers. It’s a smart, simple, and affordable way to financially recover and get support when you need it most. Many credit monitoring services even come with protection coverage if even your identity has been stolen.
I am focused on protecting you before, during, and after your real estate transaction. Stay safe out there.