No-Cost Credit Monitoring through CCCS
Recent news stories of data breaches have given consumers vivid examples of the many ways in which personal information can be compromised and the resulting havoc. While honest Americans are at work making a living, it has become evident that crooks are also working hard developing new ways to steal sensitive financial information for their own gain.
Although no one can prevent identity theft, consumers can take steps to protect themselves against loss through early detection. Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) is currently offering free 12-month memberships to Experian's freecreditscore.com. Among other features, the membership includes credit monitoring, notifying members to new activity on their credit report; a mobile app, enabling alerts and updates on the go; and access to fraud resolution agents if suspicious activity is found on the person's report. Free membership to freecreditscore.com is available through Sharpen Your Financial Focus™, a program developed by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
"Consumers need to be aware of unauthorized credit activity, and one way to effectively accomplish that is through credit monitoring. It's hard to put a price on financial peace of mind, but since the freecreditscore.com product is offered at no charge, consumers are without an excuse if they don't take advantage of this opportunity to protect areas of financial vulnerability," said LaTricia Schobert, director of CCCS.
Federal laws protect consumers against loss, but are typically tied to a staggered notification timeframe. Therefore, the sooner a person is aware of the issue, the more likely they are to suffer little or no financial loss.
- Credit cards - Overall, credit cards offer the best protection against fraudulent transactions, with maximum liability limited to $50. If the loss or theft is reported before the card is used, the liability drops to $0. Additionally, the major card networks have $0 fraud liability plans in place.
- Debit cards - Liability for unauthorized use of a debit card may depend on whether a PIN or signature was used, with a signature usually offering more protection. If the loss or theft is reported within two business days, it limits the liability to $50. Wait more than two days and the liability can jump to $500. Wait longer than 60 days from the date of the statement containing the fraud, and losses could be unlimited.
"Although financial loss may be limited, the loss of time spent reclaiming your good name and good credit can be significant. Consumers should remain as committed to protecting their personal information, as the thieves are to stealing it," continued Schobert. "That's the only thing that will level the playing field, or perhaps even tilt it in the favor of the honest folks."
In addition to the credit monitoring and alerts, the freecreditscore.com product includes features such as access to the consumer's credit report and score, the Score Planner™ tool which estimates the impact specific financial decisions have on the credit score, and a wealth of personal finance articles. These features all are designed to increase consumers' understanding of credit and to provide knowledge that can be used to make educated financial decisions.
The product complements the three-step Sharpen Your Financial Focus program. Delivered through NFCC member agencies like Consumer Credit Counseling Service, the steps are designed to help consumers regain control of their finances while increasing the likelihood of long-term positive credit behavior changes.
The freecreditscore.com memberships were provided through a generous gift from Experian in support of the financial education provided through the Sharpen Your Financial Focus program.
To learn more about the Sharpen Your Financial Focus program and take advantage of the freecreditscore.com product, reach out to Consumer Credit Counseling Service by calling 423-490-5620, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.