My Identity may have Been Compromised

I got a notice yesterday that my identity maybe, could have, probably, possibly been compromised. The scariest part of it is the information that was compromised is essentially my entire life, it was a background investigation file. I am fortunate to be close enough to the issue that I know the risk associated with what happened is extremely low if not non existent. Just to be on the safe side I have been provided with 1 year of complimentary credit monitoring.

The product they signed me up for is the Triple Advantage product from Experian. You probably recognize it from the catchy commercials under the FreeCreditReport.com brand. In honor of my obtaining this service I otherwise wouldn’t pay for I thought I would give a run down of what I get:

  • Daily credit report monitoring,
  • Email alerts when key changes are detected so you can act quickly,
  • Assistance with fraud resolution,
  • Unlimited access to your Experian Credit Report and PLUS Score, and
  • $50,000 in Identity Theft coverage.

You even get a “super cool” graphic,

plusscore

The first time I went in I was able to pull my reports from all three agencies, oddly enough the differences were pretty scary. Some things were on one report and not the other and none of them list the correct employer. But I was able to validate all of the information on my credit was mine, kind of sad to see but I own it.

The main part of the service is the monitoring, they provide monitoring of all three bureaus for changes to your credit, they monitor for:

  • New public information,
  • Credit inquiries,
  • New Accounts,
  • Potentially negative information, and
  • Address changes.

Credit monitoring is supposed to allow you to identify fraudulent accounts opened in your name. I think the only benefit to this program is the fraud assistance in the event something does happen. I wouldn’t really know where to start if someone opened an account in my name, this service will help me figure it out.

One thing that I didn’t like was their password policy. Anytime I put a password in and the system comes back and tells me I used invalid characters I want to slap the developer for being stupid. There is no good reason to not allow me to use special characters, and the complexity makes me happy and makes it harder to crack.

Conclusion

I just don’t see the value, it is like the those identity theft “insurance” agencies. While you won’t get the constant monitoring of your credit you can still get three credit reports per year if you space out your free annual credit report and pull one bureau every 4 months.

Really it comes down to your comfort level, or paranoia level as it may be. If you are down with it check out FreeCreditReport.com, I will use up my free twelve months and then leave it at that.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Rhode September 29, 2009 at 9:33 am

People assume that each credit bureau has the same information. Now you see why I always suggest a consolidated 3-1 credit report to get the full picture of what your credit says about you.

Sorry you have to live through this. I had a similar event in the past and no fraud ever came of it.

Steve

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2 Aaron September 29, 2009 at 9:49 am

Good idea with the “nofollow” link to them. It’s good to know I’m not missing anything by not signing up.

That whole “slap a developer” thing could catch on – like requiring you to format your telephone number in a particular way.

I think my business account has the weakest password restrictions possible, which is ironic. It’s something like ‘Your password must be between 4-7 characters and only contain lowercase letters and numbers.’ I had to create a special low-security password just to hide my money behind it.

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3 LaToya Irby September 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Credit monitoring is definitely more reactive than proactive. We don’t know how much time it takes for a business to send information to the credit bureaus or how long it takes the credit bureaus to get that information on your credit report. So, you may not be getting the alerts in time to stop anything from happening. You’d be stuck trying to clear your name from any theft that did occur.

It doesn’t sound like you’re too worried about having your ID stolen, but if you were, a fraud alert or security freeze would be better options.

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