Some advice about credit freezes at the four largest agencies in this article:
Signing up for one monitoring service isn't enough. You need to monitor at least the three largest credit agencies
(Equifax, Experian, TransUnion), because many companies will issue credit based on checking just one agency. And you need to check them not just once a year or when you're thinking about applying for credit, but as close to real-time as you can.
So it's best to set up alerts so they come directly to you
, rather than you having to remember to sign in. You'll get a lot of annoying alerts, but it's probably worth it since the Equifax hack. Pay attention to those alerts that are specific to credit inquiries or new accounts. (You don't need to check every time you get a notice your credit score has gone up or down. But it is worth logging in regularly to have a look.)
Experian has a free service: https://www.freecreditscore.com/
Experian Credit Monitoring Alerts: Includes new inquiries, new accounts, public records, fraud alerts, and personal information updates when added to your Experian credit report.
will let you check TransUnion and Equifax: https://www.creditkarma.com
You can adjust the alert settings in My Profile, Communication and Monitoring.
also has a CreditWise service that uses TransUnion data, available whether you are a cardholder or not:
Credit Card Company Services:
These may also be worth signing up for
, if you qualify, as they may do more than just monitor the credit agencies:
holders can use the Identify Theft Alert service discussed in this thread:
ID Theft Alerts reduces your risk of identity theft by constantly monitoring websites and chat rooms where criminals buy, sell and trade stolen identities.
- You'll receive a one-time report from us soon which highlights any detection of your information on the dark web in the past 7 years.
- We'll send immediate alerts on any new activity we detect for your information on the dark web while monitoring your personal information.
- Each month, you'll receive an email that summarizes your ID Theft Alerts™ activity.
card holders can also use their service to monitor Experian. See https://slickdeals.net/f/10558388-free-credit-monitoring-and-text-alert-for-discover-card-holders
Social Security Number Alerts: We will alert you if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of risky websites.
New Account Alerts: We will notify you if any new credit cards, mortgages, car loans or other accounts are opened on your Experian ® credit report.
Credit scores aren't really the point of this. All of the credit scores shown by Experian and CreditKarma at these sites are not the FICO a lender is likely to use, but the trends are still useful to watch and they will help you understand how credit scores work.