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A new way to combat ID theft

By Jeanine Skowronski · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Posted: 1 pm ET

credit-card-blog-transunion-on-iphonesWorried about identity theft? So is TransUnion. The credit bureau is beefing up its credit monitoring membership in the wake of recent data breaches across the country.

TransUnion says it's added an instant-alert feature that notifies members as soon as someone applies for credit in their name.

"You could conceivably be in the auto dealer or the showroom while someone pulls the report and get the notification," explains Julie Springer, vice president of TransUnion. "Time is critical if there is an identity theft occurring."

Existing and new members will receive the instant alert via email, along with instructions on what to do if they weren't responsible for the credit application. TransUnion plans on introducing SMS text alerts and push notifications via its mobile app later this year.

The bureau has also added Credit Lock to its membership. This feature instructs TransUnion not to make a customer's credit report available to any lender. (Note: The "lock" will apply only to TransUnion credit reports, so a lender could conceivably secure a copy without the red flag if it first solicits Experian or Equifax.)

Credit monitoring through TransUnion costs $17.95 a month. Springer says the bureau plans to launch other alerts and enhancements to the membership in the near future.

Real-time alerts and customer-facing controls seem to be a real trend of late, which is, perhaps, understandable given the high-profile data breaches at Target, eBay and, most recently, P.F. Chang's.

Last week, Capital One introduced spending alerts that make it easier for its credit card holders to spot unauthorized or unwanted charges. AT&T is currently piloting a program that allows financial institutions to confirm the location of traveling customers via push notifications. And a few start-ups are shopping around solutions that allow consumers to turn "off" their credit or debit cards in an effort to card fraud.

Follow me on Twitter: @JeanineSko.

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5 Comments
marc
September 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Hmmm. As a physician, I am not even allowed to tell a spouse, child, parent, or sibling that their loved one has (take your pick) some disease or is dying without 27 signed documents, 54 witnesses, and a dozen lawyers.

So explain to me why these companies are allowed to harvest my personal financial data, sell it to just about anyone without my knowledge or permission, and then sell me a service to tell me when they sold it.

Good gig if you can get it.

Where are our congressioal representatives now? I bet that they are getting paid to keep this gig going.

Buckoux
June 27, 2014 at 10:57 am

I agree as well, Paul. Paying monthly for a credit application alert is a cash cow for the credit reporting bureaus/companies. The credit applicant should be the one to pay for any application fee notice at the time and place of application. The burden ($$$) of proof is being put on the innocent party for the profit of credit reporting companies.

Chris
June 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Paul I totally agree with you

Paul
June 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

Stupid question: Why do we have to pay for credit monitoring? Is this something the credit bureaus should do anyways? Sometimes capitalism is just backwards...

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