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What is a credit monitoring service?

A credit monitoring service is a commercial service that charges you a fee to watch your credit reports and alert you to changes to the accounts listed on your credit report. 

Services usually alert you of changes to your accounts  by email, text message, or phone.

Warning: Prices and services vary widely. Some services cost over $15 a month.

Before signing up for a service, make sure you understand what you’re getting. This is particularly important if you are offered “free” credit monitoring.

Tip: Before accepting a “free” offer, check for any hidden fees or cancellation requirements. Also check with your local consumer protection agency and State Attorney General office to see if complaints have been filed against the company.

Tip: You can request a free credit report from a nationwide credit reporting company once every 12 months. By requesting the reports separately, you can monitor your credit files at no cost more frequently throughout the year.