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DIY Credit History Monitoring Tips

Helpful tips and facts for DIY credit monitoring

You know that monitoring your credit is important, but you may not know where to start.

If you don't know the difference between credit reports and credit scores or if you are confused by other terms like credit history, you need a quick DIY guide. To help you, PrivacyGuard has created this starter guide for do-it-yourself credit monitoring.

Understanding the basics of credit reporting

There are several terms that you will hear when discussing and researching credit monitoring. Below are the three terms that you should be familiar with:

  • Credit history: This is a financial profile that lists how you utilize credit. It includes open and closed (within seven to eleven years) accounts from creditors, including mortgage lenders, auto financing companies, credit card companies, utilities, and any other organization that acts as a lender to you.
  • Credit report: Your credit report is a compilation of your credit history and your personal information (e.g. name, address, Social Security number, etc.). This report is produced by the  three main independent credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Credit score: Your credit score is a numerical representation of the information in your credit report. Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850, with under 400 being quite low and 700+ putting you in the healthy range.

Checking your credit history in a credit report

You have the right to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau every twelve months or if you are denied credit based by information found in your report.

In your credit report you can review:

  • Your personal information (including name, current and recent addresses, Social Security number, date of birth, and current and previous employers)
  • Your credit history (including account details: date accounts were opened, credit limits or loan amounts, payment terms, balances, and a historical look of whether or not you've paid accounts on time)
  • Inquiries on your credit report (third parties who requested to review your credit report)
  • Public records (including liens, bankruptcies, overdue child support and other matters of public record)

Watching for signs of identity theft and errors

It is important for you to regularly check your credit report regularly for inaccuracies. You will be able to find inaccurate entries caused by clerical (or other) errors that could affect your credit history.

Monitoring your credit will also allow you to find signs of identity theft. Early detection of identity theft can help minimize the damage of a stolen identity.

Get help if you need it

Still not sure what you need to watch out for or wondering if you have the time to properly monitor credit? That's OK. You don't have to do it alone.

A PrivacyGuard membership relieves you of some of the burden of credit monitoring. Our membership includes daily credit monitoring, identity theft protection, score tracking alerts and more. Stay on top of your credit - enroll today.

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