Many people ask, “why pay all this money to the Lifelock’s and Debix’s of the world, can’t I do it myself?”
The answer, in the case of Lifelock is yes and with, Debix partly yes.
First, a little background.
A law was passed in 2003 known as the FACT Act. The acronym stands for; Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction (Act). The purpose of the Act is as follows;
To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to prevent identity theft, improve resolution of consumer disputes, improve the accuracy of consumer records, make improvements in the use of, and consumer access to, credit information, and for other purposes.
In true legal/governmental tradition the document is 62 pages, if you’re stuck in an airport, you can read the full text.
We won’t cover the details in this post. The intent seems to be, (please remember, we are not lawyers) to provide any consumer with the right to flag their credit file at will or if they suspect there is or will be fraudulent use of their credit.
You can absolutely do this yourself. LifeLock presents a very useful analogy on their website. You can change your oil too, but do you really want to? Besides, the whole fraud proofing process is more cumbersome than an oil change.
One of the most important issues is that all three of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) need to be dealt with individually. Although they are supposed to communicate with each other, consumer protection studies have revealed otherwise. Lifelock and Debix catch all three. In addition, fraud alerts need to be placed every 90 days at the longest or they essentially expire.
What may be the most important issue, is that creditors will occasionally ignore the fraud alert on your credit report. Don’t waste time trying to figure this out, just be aware that it does happen. Where Debix pulls out in front is their phone alert system. Otherwise it might be a week till you are notified by mail.
If you are sufficiently concerned about credit fraud to consider doing this on your own, don’t. There are too many recurring events and considerations to be monitored for you to depend on getting all the bases covered in your already too busy schedule.