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I have a subscription to one of those ID protection services. Not because I paid for it, but because someone lost my personal information and sprung for it for a couple of years.

I've read somewhere that these services are kind of a rip-off, and that any information they provide is available elsewhere. The most important service these people seem to offer is an update when my credit is accessed. After getting a new apartment, etc., I'll get a notification within a few days that my credit was accessed.

Is there really a way that I can do this myself (without paying the $10 or whatever to pull my credit port, from all three agencies?) Or is one of these protection services the cheapest / easiest way to have this done? I understand one can access their credit report free yearly - but this time interval is too long to provide real protection.

  • idk if any services provide free notifications, but e.g. Credit Karma is free and updates every 7 days–you'd still have to check manually, and it only reflects hard inquiries, but it's worth checking. – Kevin Sep 8 '17 at 19:28
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I've read somewhere that these [credit monitoring] services are kind of a rip-off, and that any information they provide is available elsewhere ... Is there really a way that I can do this myself?

You can get a limited number of "snapshots" of your credit report for free, but AFAIK you cannot get daily snapshots or near real-time alerts without paying for it. I suspect the reason that some people claim the services aren't worth the money is because they don't prevent any harm; they simply notify you if potential harm has been done. Furthermore, if you choose to, you can lock your credit reports for free and if you do that, the monitoring services don't add much value.

If you do not wish to lock your reports and you also would like to receive daily alerts and score updates, then the cost may be worth it to you. I personally have used a service before large purchases where minor tweaks to your score can make a big difference (home mortgages) and in my case it was definitely worth it (see the interesting side note), but other than that, I haven't found keeping the services to provide much value other than it's "kinda cool" to have that level of information at your fingertips 24/7.

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This is not a product endorsement, but if you have a Discover credit card they have recently rolled out a credit monitoring and protection service to their cards.

It is a free service as long as you have a credit card account with them. If you sign up for it you will get a monthly report and any alerts of activity that they can detect. That's all the information I know for now. Other credit cards may offer something similar to this service:

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/member-benefits/security/protection-solutions/identity-theft-protection.html

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    But at the month mark, someone may have already taken money from a bank under my name. And the burden of proof may be on me... in other words, maybe I'm already ripped off by then. – horse hair Sep 8 '17 at 20:24
  • That is true. It supposedly sends you an alert text/email as soon as something suspicious happens that they know about. I haven't had that happen yet (knock on wood) so I'm not sure how immediate the notification is. – Toothless Sep 8 '17 at 20:33
  • In my personal experience, this service does not alert for HP's on EX. – Mooseman Sep 10 '17 at 11:11

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