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According to the British Home Office, one of the UK's fastest-growing crimes is identity theft. In fact, some studies show that identity theft is increasing at a rate of more than 500% each year. However, while you may not always be able to prevent identity theft, regularly checking your credit report is one of the most effective ways to combat this pernicious crime.
By automatically alerting you, within 24 hours, of any relevant changes in your Equifax Credit Report, the Equifax Credit Watch tool makes monitoring your credit report as easy as it gets.
For example, if someone tries to get credit in your name you will quickly know; this way you can immediately take the necessary action before any serious damage is done. The Equifax Credit Watch service also includes your Equifax Credit Report and access to live customer support, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
There are numerous ways that identity theft can occur, but the goal rarely varies; thieves steal your personal information to take over your credit accounts, open new accounts, take out loans, rent apartments, go shopping, access existing bank accounts, and to generally commit multitudinous other crimes in your name and - most obviously - at your expense.
The effects of identity theft can be devastating, but unfortunately, because identity theft often involves no actual physical theft, victims of identity theft may not even be aware of the problem until many months and several thousands of pounds later.
Rest assured, once identity theft happens to you, it can take many months of your time and effort, and money to restore your credit rating to good standing again.
Mistakenly, many people often think that because they do not have credit cards, or because they only use bank debit cards, that they are somehow immune from identity theft. This could not be further from the truth; they are just as likely to be a victim. Credit card fraud is just one type of identity theft amongst many, and some variants of identity theft do not even involve credit cards at all. For example, someone with a bad credit history may use your personal information to try and acquire a car loan, obtain mobile phone services, or some other type of service, or even open a bank account in your name. As you can guess, the result is generally the same, and you credit can be ruined.
The lesson therefore is that anyone is vulnerable to identity theft, but that there are steps which can be taken to keep a close eye on things, and to ensure that if someone does try to obtain credit in your name, then you will know almost straightaway.
Remember, unless you do check your credit report regularly, there is often no way to tell if thieves have used your personal information to obtain credit accounts or other services in your name. For the sake of a few pounds, most would agree that the Equifax Credit Watch service makes an excellent investment.
Equifax offers customers three different Credit Watch products:
Credit Watch Gold which provides you with: * Unlimited instant, online access to your latest credit file * Ongoing support from the Equifax Customer Support team * Optional Equifax newsletters giving you ongoing advice and up-to-date information * Automatic alerts within 24 hours of key changes to your report
Identity Watch which provides customers with: * One free Equifax Credit Report, with a discount on additional reports * Ongoing support from Equifax Customer Support * Automatic alerts within seven days of key changes to your credit report * Optional newsletters giving you ongoing advice and up-to-date information
Equifax Identity Watch Lite service provides the cheapest method of monitoring, and is priced at around £3, with each of the other services costing slightly more.
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The Credit Expert service, provided by Experian, is an online credit-monitoring and identity-fraud protection service for individuals. As one of the leading UK credit reference agencies, the Experian Credit Expert service helps people to keep abreast of their credit obligations, credit status and their credit history: Credit Expert also helps enable consumers to make better-informed financial decisions when they apply for new credit, such as mortgages or credit cards, for example.
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