4. You caused this problem, and now we’re supposed to pay you for help?
More outrageous than the fees protection services charge is the fact that we should never have been in a position to need these services in the first place.
Unless you’re the one who negligently left your credit information lying around, you shouldn’t have to worry about your credit being co-opted, and you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops if it happens. The banking and credit reporting industries make billions annually from American consumers. If they can’t be bothered to create a system that protects the information they collect, sell and use to grant credit, they should solve — and pay for — the problems that result.
But instead of crafting a safer system, they craft clever commercials to sell you “protection.”
If everyone’s credit was frozen, high-profile data breaches would never occur, because the credit card information the crooks obtain would be worthless. The credit industry doesn’t deserve to profit by charging you for protection from the mess it created and the system it profits from.
Is credit monitoring all bad?
There are those who disagree with me and tout credit monitoring and protection as a smart thing to do. For example, in this article, personal finance author Lynnette Khalfani-Cox says, “the single biggest reason to use credit monitoring is that you’ll receive an incredible amount of credit education simply by staying on top of your credit. The mere act of constantly reviewing your credit files and being aware of changes to your credit profile promotes enhanced financial literacy and better credit awareness.”
Monitoring your credit is a good educational experience. And if you’re going to be applying for a mortgage or other big loan, the three free reports you’re entitled to yearly from annualcreditreport.com may not be enough. But pay $10 a month or more for “education”? I’d advise against it, and so would the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. From that agency’s website: “Before considering these services, be aware that free and low-cost services are also available to protect consumers.” They go on to suggest using fraud alerts and credit freezes.
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I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’ve am a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate. If you’ve got some time to kill, you can learn more about me here.
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