Suck It

I hope this is not news to you, but is not free. Although the company isn’t doing anything illegal, I think they still deserve a swift punch to the throat. It infuriates me that a company boasts about it’s free credit report service, when in fact it is a we-hope-you-don’t-realize-you-are-signing-up-for-a-monthly-subscription service. Sure, your initial report is free, but they stick it to ya 30 days later if you haven’t had the due diligence to cancel the contract you probably didn’t know you signed up for. Now I haven’t been tricked by, but a lot of people I speak with think that is the place to go.

Okay now that I’m done with my ranting on to better things. Yesterday, I hopped on (the truly free site) to review my credit report. I do this every four months. I usually print off a copy of the report and keep it in my files. It’s important to periodically check your credit report. Why? It’s the best way to protect yourself against identity fraud. If someone manages to get their hands on your personal information, it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to sign up for a credit card in your name. If you don’t check your credit report, there is no way of knowing if someone has opened unauthorized accounts. If you don’t know what a credit report is, it’s basically is a complete list of all debts you have had over the last seven years. Credit cards, school loans, late taxes, car payments, they all will be in your credit report. Even those who have gone all Dave Ramsey and sworn off debt, you still need to check your report.

This leads me to my question. If you follow me on twitter, I tweeted about this the other day, but now I want to bring it to all the PF bloggers stopping by. Is credit monitoring worth it? I have been utilizing my three free checks per year and so far haven’t had any identity theft issues. I did some simple browsing yesterday, and it looks like for about $10 to $20 you can get a decent amount of protection against identity theft. It would be super convenient to get email notifications each time an account was opened in my name. Or a text message each time a large purchase was processed on my credit card. But is it really worth the monthly fee? Do you pay for credit monitoring? Have you dealt with having your identity stolen? I bet it only takes one incident to convince someone credit monitoring is a worthwhile expense.

11 thoughts on “Suck It”

  1. regretfully, I was suckered by, and although I did eventually cancel out of spite, secretly I loved the service I was [way over-]charged for. It was a year's subscription to ScoreWatch, which didn't notify me of suspicious activity but DID notify me whenever my FICO score changed. WHAT A RUSH! The day after I made a pretty massive payment to a delinquent card, I got an email saying "your credit score went up 66 points!". The month after I missed a payment? "FICO score change: -12.". I got kind of addicted to seeing the actual effects of my financial behavior; it was the poor man's (ha! literally) version of checking your investments every day.

    While I had it, I liked to think that the service doubled as protection against identity theft – I always knew why my score was going up or down when it did, so as soon as the thief did anything that hurt my score, I'd see a mysterious drop or increase without having done anything and be able to look into it. If I were in even just a slightly better place financially, I think I would actually be happy to shell out the $150 or so for a year's worth of score monitoring. But only if I found another company that offered it, because those free credit report guys are sneaky, slimey jerks.

  2. I imagine these services are sold based on fear and the reality is majority of us don't need it because we know how to keep our information secured.

    The other aspect comes down to what is the service do for that price and compare that to if you can actually do that yourself.

  3. I can't imagine that you didn't check the fine print when signing up at At least somewhere should it say about their terms.

    As for, I thought that was only free once a year for all 3 major credit bureas? hmmm.

    I signed up for a monitoring system and it was a waste of money. I rarely used it and it sent me notifications all the time. Minute changes for something or other. Wasn't worth it. I think your due diligence in checking your CR q4 months is good enough to keep tabs. Even q6 months.

  4. @ laura – It sounds like although you were overpaying you still enjoyed the service. that's good to know

    @ Tomasz – Although I do everything in my power to keep my information secure, I can't control businesses that lose my information, which is becoming more and more common. The govt has even been responsible for compromising people's personal info and hundreds of thousands of veterans were affected.

    @ Money Funk – The fine print does explain the fees, I have never used their service, but I doubt the majority of people read fine print. And yes, annualcreditreport is free once a year for each credit bueraue, so essentially three times a year you can run your credit for free.

  5. I think the cost of monitoring accounts and such is worth it, depending on the cost of course. There are still really FREE services that do this though, with no sneaky strings attached.

    With, they send an email or SMS whenever interest rates on your credit cards change, large deposits or withdrawals are made, and anything else that happens that may seem out of the ordinary on your accounts. is similar to in that you can get your score any time, and monitor changes. They email from time to time about different changes and such and the service is actually completely free, no strings attached. I have been using it for quite some time and really like it.
    As for the cost of time to check it is def worth it. A creditor made some mistakes on my credit report and having that annual report, I was able to fight those and fix the problems that creditor mistake made.

  6. It is pretty crappy of them to mislead people like that. I, unfortunately, had to sign up for one of those monitoring services when my employer's files were stolen with all of my personal information. It is nice to know exactly what your scores are a few times a year.

  7. I just stick with the REAL free credit report: Annual Credit – you can check it free once a year….i usually tempted to then pick up my credit SCORE for $5-$10 bucks, but you don't need to if you don't want to.

    I'm done with messing w/ the rest…

  8. I think's commercials should be enough to keep everyone away. 🙂

    Of course, they do generate discussion…

    I've never bothered with monitoring my credit, other than occasionally pulling a report. I'm on the path of debt freedom and ultimately aiming for a FICO score of zero, so I am obviously in the minority on this one.

  9. I think I'll be sticking to annual credit report for now. Thanks all for your input 🙂

  10. I don't know how many times I've had to remind people it's NOT to actually get a free credit report! My boys like their commercials though…

    I also get my credit reports 3 times a year. I think if you do it that way there's no need for a credit monitoring service.

    And the big point is that if someone really wants your information, they'll get it no matter how careful you are. If they don't get it from you, then they'll get it from someone you do business with that has less security.

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