Identity theft protection companies pledge to act as guardians of your personal information, for a monthly or annual fee. Generally, they start with credit monitoring and layer on additional services so they can alert you to potential problems.
But alerts just flag you after the fact; they don’t prevent someone from stealing and misusing your financial data. That’s why NerdWallet advises proactively freezing your credit — it can prevent the opening of fraudulent accounts.
We track activity on your credit reports at one, two, or all three of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. We resolve any activity that appears to be identity theft or a mistake before it grows
We monitor bank account information or Social Security, driver’s license, passport, or medical ID number — and alert you if your information is being used in ways that generally don’t show up on your credit report.