In light of recent high-profile data breaches, businesses have begun to invest heavily in advanced credit monitoring services in order to protect themselves from the growing risk of identity theft.
According to a recent survey conducted by Experian, 48 percent of organizations said that they increased security investments during the past 12 months, while 73 percent said that they were aware of the chance of a data breach and have developed a response plan.
It’s not just the possibility of a breach of consumer privacy that worries companies. Firms are also growing concerned about the possibility of health care data breaches that will negatively affect their employees. These are expected to rise as employers, insurers and care providers shift from paper medical documentation to electronic medical records. In addition, a growing emphasis on workplace wellness programs and wearable health devices is yet another vulnerability that identity thieves can exploit.
When identity thieves gain access to medical data, they can often use certain pieces of information to learn other confidential facts about a person and piece together an identity for them to use. From there, it becomes possible for them to begin opening accounts and taking out loans in that person’s name and even steal their tax returns.
But while the risk of identity theft is indeed growing, ordinary consumers and employees do not have to solely rely on businesses to protect them. You too can use credit monitoring services to keep an eye on your finances, catch errors early and stop identity theft before it gets out of hand.
Think of it as an extra set of eyes working to keep you safe. While it is certainly possible for people to monitor their credit on their own by carefully watching their purchases and monthly statements, this can only serve as so much protection against a determined thief. For one, you likely won’t be able to check all of your credit reports on a regular basis and be confident that you aren’t missing something.
Writing for Daily Finance, contributor Lynnette Khalfani-Cox argues that this can be a serious problem:
“You are at a serious disadvantage if you only check one credit report at a time — because you will then go for months upon months before you discover what data is contained in your other credit files. There could be errors in those reports, harming you financially or damaging your reputation,” she writes. “Someone could have opened accounts in your name without you realizing it. Or you may simply want to closely track all three credit files in anticipation of applying for a job or a big loan, such as a mortgage. Credit monitoring will aid you in each of these instances.”
If you are busy or have a tendency to travel, you probably don’t have a lot of time to pour over your own credit reports in any case. Allow a credit monitoring services to alert you in the event that certain activity appears on your credit file that could be indicative of fraud appears. This will certainly help you maintain peace of mind about your finances.