Credit monitoring and reporting to the CRAs

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MemberSince99
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Credit monitoring and reporting to the CRAs

Postby MemberSince99 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:36 am

I wanted to post here on my experiences with how soon new accounts appear on the CRAs.

One of the selling points they use for credit monitoring is that it protects you by letting you see your reports against identity theft. Yes, this is true however, in my experience there is a hole in this selling point.

I've opened a number of cards over the last 6 months, including a good number that do not appear in my signature as they are closed. I've been finding that a number of issuers simply do not report your account to the CRAs for up to 2 months after you open an account. The lenders that seem to take the longest that I've dealt with are Cap One (takes more than 2 statements) and Discover (More took 2 statements and I've gotten 2 statements from Escape and it isn't reporting yet). I've also gotten my first statement for Chase and US Bank and neither of those is reporting yet either.

The bottom line here is trying to feel safer from id theft using a monitoring service is like waiting till the Titanic hits the iceberg then trying to keep it from sinking by using the sump pumps. In the month or two months that pass before you get notified of the account opening they can have (and probably will have) done some heavy damage.
What you can do is keep an eye on any inquiries as that will tip you off, but since you won't know about the account it will be very difficult for you to really find out if anything is going on. You will have to work hard to do this, but if some inquiry pops up out of the blue that you didn't initiate that's a huge red flag.

The only real way to protect yourself is to freeze your credit files with the CRAs on a periodic basis and unfreeze them as needed (when you need more credit). Even that offers a bit of risk but hey you potentially risk your life driving to work so nothing can be 100%. But the bottom line is don't rely on this kind of thing as a prevention for ID theft. That doesn't mean it's not a good thing and not worthwhile just that it's not good at all in preventing fraud because of the long time it takes many issuers to report.


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