How Credit Monitoring Works

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Author's Note: How Credit Monitoring Works

I consider myself an intelligent person. I graduated from college, I'm gainfully employed and I've published articles on dozens of subjects, including personal finance. Yet I am still baffled by the world of credit scores and credit reports. Heck, I even wrote the article How Credit Reporting Agencies Work, but I still can't tell you exactly how the "Big Three" credit reporting companies come up with their magic numbers or why they have a vice grip on our very personal — and valuable — credit information. Experian and others have shown some shaky ethics in upselling unsuspecting consumers on credit monitoring. I hope that the FTC keeps the pressure on these companies to prevent further confusion about credit reporting, credit monitoring and the exaggerated specter of identity theft.

Related Articles


  • Blyskal, Jeff. "Expect less and pay more with Target's credit monitoring." Consumer Reports. Feb. 6, 2014. (July 3, 2014)
  • "How Credit Monitoring Works." (July 3, 2014)
  • Experian. "Credit Monitoring." (July 3, 2014)
  • Federal Trade Commission. "Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes." (July 3, 2014)
  • Federal Trade Commission. "Free Credit Reports." (July 3, 2014)
  • Federal Trade Commission. "Place a Fraud Alert." (July 3, 2014)
  • Khalfani-Cox, Lynnette. "Why Critics Are Wrong About Credit Monitoring Services." DailyFinance. June 14, 2010. (July 3, 2014)
  • Kirschheimer, Sid. "When Free Credit Reports Are Not Free." AARP. April 12, 2010. (July 4, 2014)
  • Lieber, Ron. "A Free Credit Score Followed By a Monthly Bill." The New York Times. Nov. 2, 2009. (July 3, 2014)
  • Palmer, Kimberly. "How credit card companies spot fraud before you do." U.S. News & World Report. Nov. 27, 2013. (July 3, 2014)
  • Weston, Liz. "Is Credit Monitoring a Waste?" MSN Money. Aug. 20, 2012. (July 3, 2014)