Cybersecurity Advent – Day 23

Today’s Cybersecurity tip is: monitor your accounts

Even with all the settings we’ve tweaked, browser plug-ins we’ve installed, and common sense in the world, you still might get hacked or there might be a breach in some service in which you have no control.

Rather than rely on the institution that has the breach to notify you, you can be proactive about your own financial accounts by monitoring them yourself or paying for a service to do it for you; depending on your level of effort or comfort. There are a multitude of services available, ranging in price. Be aware of what the services offer before you divulge your personal information and/or pay them.

What to compare in credit monitoring services:

  • Price
  • Which of the three services they monitor – ideally all three
  • How often is your credit report and/or credit score updated
  • What additional services do they offer – ID verification, dark web watch, etc
  • Compare customer service options – 24hr phone, email, etc

It also doesn’t hurt to search for the company in your favorite search engine and see what comes up as far as ratings, reputation, and complaints. No service is perfect, but every layer helps.

Another thing to consider is that many services you already use might offer a level of free (or included) credit monitoring. Services like AAA, your insurance company, or your bank or other financial institutions. It’s worth checking their website to see what they offer.

If you’re up to a challenge or just like to be more hands-on, Lifehacker wrote this post a few years ago which will show you how to monitor your own credit for free! I haven’t taken the plunge, so I can neither recommend nor discourage you from trying that route. Give it a read and decide for yourself.

You’re building quite the aresnal of tools and services to help protect you online. I hope you’re feeling safer and in control of your information.

See you tomorrow!