Christian Credit Score Monitoring

Continuous Christian credit score monitoring can help consumers detect and remedy negative entries which could adversely affect creditworthiness. Credit surveillance services keep a watchful eye on reports to help detect any negative changes or activity that might arouse suspicion of identity theft or fraud. And keeping a watchful eye on reports could secure potential borrowing power for consumers shopping for low interest financing. Computed using several criteria developed by the Fair Isaac & Company (FICO), credit scores can make or break a would-be borrower. FICO ratings above 700 qualify consumers for prime lending for home mortgages, new vehicles or college tuition. But consumers with scores below the mid 600 to 500 range will have difficulty securing financing without paying sky high interest rates. Consumers with FICO digits below 500 generally need not apply for prime lending. Hard money, sub prime lenders, or personal finance companies may be the only alternatives for borrowers with low scores.

Borrowers seeking to improve FICOs can take measures to clean up negative reports by contacting creditors and making arrangements to gradually decrease outstanding debt. But occasionally consumers are astonished to discover that negative report entries and outstanding balances are the result of fraud perpetuated by identity theft or other other unauthorized charge accounts use. Identity theft has become one of the most rapidly growing white-collar crimes in America; and no one is exempt from unscrupulous criminals who take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Punishable by law, unauthorized charge card usage costs consumers thousands in cash and threatens creditworthiness. But concerned consumers may solicit the aid of credit score monitoring services or software to detect unauthorized usage and avoid negative entries which mar future financing potential.

Why is there so much charge card fraud? Chalk it up to the information age. Stealing someone else's identity is becoming easier to commit due to electronic transfer of private information across the Internet, which as opened up new vistas of cyberspace crime. Each time an individual fills out online forms, browses the web, or visits a chat room, computer databases store a histories of sites visited, along with confidential data. Sensitive information can be accessed by hackers or shared by individuals who have access to public and private servers. However, when monitoring services discover that an unauthorized individual has stolen and is using the cardholder's identification to make purchases, cardholders are alerted and measures are taken to secure accounts. Another taletell sign of fraud is FICO scores that begin to take a nose dive due to mounting delinquent accounts or excessive spending. Credit score monitoring can also help detect, restore and repair discrepancies before they have a negative affect on future financing options.

The average consumer may not realize the importance of paying bills on time; but a good payment history is a sign of good character. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold" (Proverbs 22:1). But once that good name is ruined through negative consumer credit reports, an individual's chances of financing a car or home, or getting a top paying job can be greatly hindered. Identity thieves can steal social security and charge card numbers and rack up thousands of dollars of unauthorized purchases before an innocent consumer can bat an eye. Proving fraudulent transactions, reapplying for new charge cards, and clearing one's good name and reputation can take months and sometimes years, along with expensive legal fees. And the sad story is that identity thieves may never be caught or prosecuted. But credit score monitoring services offer protection from identity theft via 24/7 surveillance and electronic alerts of suspicious activity.

Utilizing state-of-the-art software, credit score monitoring firms compare consumer reports from the three major reporting agencies in the United States, usually within 30 days of purchase dates. Accounts are monitored for occurrences of new account openings; maxed out credit limits; home addresses not matching that of the account holder; or several big ticket purchases, such as flat panel TVs, computers, or airline fares charged within a short amount of time. Credit score monitoring software sends alerts via email to consumers when suspicious activity or negative entries which adversely affect FICOs are detected; and surveillance firms contact creditors to apprise them of fraudulent activity. Victims of identity theft or charge account fraud who do not employ a monitoring service should personally contact and apprise each account issuer immediately regarding suspicious entries. Creditors who are aware of fraudulent purchases will not prosecute victims and most will relieve innocent consumers from responsibility. However, the more time lapses after discovering fraudulent activity, the less likely creditors will want to forgive. Victims should act quickly to protect creditworthiness and avoid criminal prosecution.

Cardholders seeking protection from identity theft and unauthorized usage can greatly benefit from credit score monitoring software or services usually found online. Those who opt for do-it-yourself surveillance should ensure that software programs are compatible with home or office PC platforms. The added benefit of using a monitoring company is the freedom afforded consumers from having to periodically pull reports and check out each negative entry or error. Professional surveillance offers peace of mind and an assurance that future financing options won't be hindered by a sudden dip in FICOs. In addition to individual consumers, large and small businesses can take advantage of monitoring services to help protect corporate and employee accounts. Some firms offer group benefits packages which include identity theft protection. Benefits programs which offer employer-provided retirement funds, stock purchase plans, 401ks, credit score monitoring as part of an identity theft protection plan are invaluable in attracting and maintaining high quality employees. Regardless of whether accounts are corporate or individual, monitoring services and software are part of the first line of defense against white collar credit crime.

Christian Credit Monitoring Service

Employing a credit monitoring service that will automatically track an individual's financial history can be an important defense against identity theft. Changes in a credit report, odd activity, or errors that need correction can be quickly detected through the use of these services. Anyone who is concerned about protection from personal financial fraud might benefit by subscribing with agencies such as these. One valuable feature that is generally available to the client is the ability to see reports from the three major reporting bureaus whenever the client wishes. Automatic alerts to significant changes in these reports are another valuable feature. These alerts may be generated by such things as changes in public record information, unusual inquiries, delinquencies, new charge accounts, changes in employment, or anything else that suddenly has a negative impact on the report. While many individuals prefer to monitor this information themselves, the convenience of having this detail of life handled by a credit monitoring service is more than worth it to some consumers.

When considering subscribing to a credit monitoring service, a consumer should carefully compare the features that varying services offer. One of the features to look for could include a free initial membership that may range anywhere from seven to thirty days. Monthly fees may be charged to a client's credit card in the range of ten to fifteen dollars per month, although some services may come at a lower price. A potential client should ask about how frequently their report will be checked and if there is a minimum membership commitment or if a client can cancel a membership at any time. A typical credit monitoring service will allow the client unlimited access to their own report. Additional analysis on how to improve a score and information on any financial errors a client may be making are also generally included features. Suspicious activity such as new charge accounts that have been opened without the client's knowledge will automatically raise a red flag. Clients are generally notified right away in the event of such activity. Among the benefits of keeping financial scores at a high level are lower interest rates, quicker approval on financing, and fewer mandatory down payments.

Protection against identity theft is an important feature of any credit monitoring service. The best defense against identity theft is adequate and timely information. A good first step in fighting this crime could lie in understanding its nature. An identity thief will take a consumer's private information such as their social security number or charge card account numbers and use this information to perpetrate theft or fraud against their victims. If successful, these thieves can leave behind shattered reputations and financial disaster. How do these criminals attain such personal information? There are a surprising variety of information sources that many consumers are not aware of. Some thieves will engage in a practice called dumpster diving. Dumpster diving involves sorting through trash for private identifying data. Skimming is another hidden practice that involves data storage devices that steal information when a card is used. Phishing is online activity that involves masquerading as a lending institution or other company to retrieve private data. Something as simple as a change of address form can temporarily divert mail and bills to a thief's address. The thief will then use the information included in personal mail to perpetrate fraud. Other false pretenses such as telephone soliciting or door to door contact can also work as methods of obtaining information. If all of these efforts fail, there is always the old fashioned practice of stealing wallets and purses. Whatever means a thief might use, personal identity should be carefully guarded to prevent this fraud and a credit monitoring service can provide a needed heads up before things get out of hand.

The usefulness of a credit monitoring service is greatly appreciated by anyone who has experienced charge card fraud. If a thief should attempt to open up an account in a victim's name, anyone subscribing to one of these services will know about this attempt immediately. Under non monitored circumstances, a victim may not find out about these fraudulent accounts until it is too late. A thief will often hide their tracks by having the charge account information delivered to the thief's own address. Some thieves may try to open up telephone or wireless accounts in someone's name. If successful, the thief will use the account for his own purposes and can run up a hefty bill in the victim's name. Even utilities are not off limits. Cable television, internet capability, heating, water bills, any utility is not off limits. Bank accounts have been opened in the name of identity theft victims with bad checks and overdrafts following rapidly. The use of ATM and debt cards to drain existing accounts is also a common offense. In addition to all of these crimes, some thieves will borrow money or make credit purchases that they do not plan on ever repaying.

Whatever approach a Christian might choose, there are specific rights that apply under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In addition to one free report per year, individuals have the right to know if any information that is in their file has been used against them for any reason. It is also permissible under the law to dispute any information that can be found in the report. With perseverance and awareness, most consumers can work out financial issues and rebuild scores and a credit monitoring service can be an effective tool. The Bible talks about the importance of endurance as it pertains to faith. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)

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