Experian Triple Alert Credit Monitoring Service (Product Review)
Monday, June 09, 2008
After Discover changed its credit monitoring vendor, I started looking for a replacement credit monitoring service. Since the three national credit bureaus all offer credit monitoring services, I thought that I'd start there. First up: Experian.
I'd heard that Experian’s service is called "Triple Alert,", but I wasn't certain. So I did a Google search to find the site. For me, one way to judge a product or service is determine how easy it is to find that service on the Internet. A well organized service (or company) makes it easy for consumers to find them via search engines like Google. The site should appear high up on the first results page and its Web site address (e.g., URL) should include the product or service name. I entered "Experian Triple Alert” in Google.com and received the following results page:
The results page included several Experian links in the left column:
None of the links mentioned "triple alert," but several competitors' links mentioned "triple alert." In the right column, one "Experian Triple Alert" link seemed to go to a site (e.g., Moving-Links.com/FreeReport) that wasn't an Experian site. So, I didn't click on that link. The second "Experian Tiple Alert" link in the right column had a question mark next to it, which my anti-virus software indicated was a risky or untested site to visit. So, I definitely wasn't going to click on that link.
The "Experian VA Data Breach" link didn't seem relevant. I was hoping that the results page would include something easily identifiable like "www.triplealert.com" or "www.experian.com/triple alert." My first impression was that Experian wasn't going to make my experience with their brand easy. I clicked on the "www.experiandirect.com" link and see if it would take me where I wanted to go. It brought me to:
The page include a Triple Alert so I felt better; that I’d had arrived at the right site. I thought that the page would present only the Triple Alert service from Experian. Instead, the page was cluttered with several Experian service options. The page presented the Triple Alert service for $4.95 per month, a single credit report plus credit score option for $15, a three credit report plus my credit score option for $24.95, and an online credit report option for $10. Are all of these options Triple Alert services, or only the first option?
The options hyping “online credit report in seconds” and “get your credit report and credit score instantly” seemed silly. Most services on the internet are fast and instant. That's why consumers use the Internet. The copy didn't explain if or why Experian's options are faster than others. Plus, I can see the page thoroughly confusing users who are unfamiliar with credit bureaus and the credit report/score process. The site lacks adviser mechanisms to guide unfamiliar consumers to the appropriate option.
For my needs, I seek a comprehensive credit monitoring service... far more than just a one-time peek at my credit score or my Experian credit report. I need access to the full text of my credit reports from all three national credit bureaus. I also need e-mail or text messaging alerts about the status or changes to my credit reports, credit resolution support and insurance, criminal fraud monitoring, identity fraud assistance when traveling outside the USA, my credit score, credit assistance tools, access to phone support, and easy options to add a Fraud Alert or Security Freeze. The copy on this page did not address all or most of these needs. The closest option seemed to be the Triple Alert option. For my needs, I want both monthly e-mail alerts and customizeable e-mail and text messaging alerts, options many banks and credit card issuers already provide. Why? The sooner you learn about fraudulent charges, the less money you'll lose.
I needed to understand exactly what Triple Alert will and won’t do with its credit resolution services. (Thanks to IBM’s data breach, my personal data has already been exposed.) I selected the “View sample alert” link to learn more about the basic credit reporting features. The sample alert page looked very similar to what I currently receive via my Discover credit monitoring service.
The feature mentioned on the home page: "e-mail alerts to key changes in any of my 3 credit reports” is nice, but the page copy didn't explain how the alerts work: how often, any customization options, and e-mail or text messaging options. Regarding credit monitoring services, I do not look for the cheapest service. I look for the service with the most value and effectiveness. Value is what I get for the monthly fee. Effectiveness includes addressing my needs: protection, alerts/warnings features, customization features, resolution services, adequate insurance and guarantee coverages, support, and reliability.
Next, I clicked on the “10,000 Triple Alert Guarantee” link to learn more about that feature. I expected the guarantee page to explain simply the guarantee and its benefits. Instead, the page presented a word-dense legal agreement in hard-to-read lawyer-speak. I was getting the distinct impression that Experian is a difficult brand to do business with. The guarantee page stated:
“If you (hereinafter "you") become a victim of Identity Theft (as defined below) while enrolled in and using the Triple Alert product, ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. (hereinafter "we", "our" or "us") will reimburse you for certain Identity Theft Expenses (as described in Section 3, below) up to $10,000, subject to the terms and conditions of this Guarantee. "Identity Theft" means that your name, address, Social Security number, bank, or credit card account number, or other personally identifying information was used without your knowledge or approval to commit fraud or other crimes. The maximum amount that we will pay you is $10,000 for Identity Theft Expenses as a direct result of an Identity Theft.”
Why does the copy mention ConsumerInfo.com? I didn't ask for that site. Did I arrive at the wrong site? What is ConsumerInfo.com? Is it a better credit monitoring service? This was confusing and it caused more questions than it answered. Further down the page, it included a description of the types of expenses are covered:
“(a) Stolen Funds: Funds directly stolen from you that are related to any account that is included on your Experian credit report…”
“(b) Legal Expenses: Reasonable and necessary attorney fees or court costs associated with defending any suit brought against you by merchants, financial institutions or other credit grantors or their collection agencies, or the removal of any criminal or civil judgment wrongly entered against you.”
"(c) Lost Wages: Actual United States wages or salary you lose as a direct result of time off work taken by you to report an Identity Theft;”
“(d) Miscellaneous: Loan applications fees, long distance telephone costs, mailing and postage costs, costs of having affidavits or other documents notarized; and”
"(e) Private Investigators: Any fees or costs associated with the use of any investigative agencies or private investigators. You must receive our advanced written consent to your choice of private investigators, and we reserve the right to select such private investigators.”
Note: the Triple Alert site pages do not mention outsourcing and whether Experian offshore outsources any of its operations. I know from prior research that all three national credit bureaus announced offshore outsourcing in 2003. To stay competitive and to manage costs, credit bureaus currently offshore outsource portions of their credit reporting operations, and likely do the same for their credit monitoring services. I would expect a credit bureau like Experian to mention its offshore outsourcing arrangements so consumers can make an informed purchase.
To summarize in plain English: if a bank account is on my Experian credit report and that account has money stolen from it, I would get reimbursed up to $10,000 less reimbursements for other valid expenses. If that bank account wasn't on my Experian credit report, then it isn't covered. That doesn't seem right.
The $10,000 of insurance didn't seem like much. It's pretty easy to have a $5,000 to $7,000 limit on one credit card, and much more in a savings account and mortgage. Attorney fees could easily eat up a large portion of the $10,000 guarantee.
Let’s assume for the moment that the $10,000 guarantee amount is enough coverage. There’s more to consider. The reimbursements are subject to more conditions. To get reimbursed, a consumer must also meet all of the following items:
- Review your credit reports in a timely manner and report fraudulent items
- File a police report within 10 days after first learning of identity theft or fraud (or after Experian notification)
- Contact Experian’s Fraud Resolution Department within 10 days after first learning of identity theft or fraud (or after Experian notification)
- Place a Fraud Alert with all 3 credit bureaus within 10 days after first learning of identity theft or fraud (or after Experian notification)
- Work with Experian’s Fraud Resolution Department to pursue any and all sources of reimbursement and submit any receipts and documentation. I must assign Experian rights (Power of Attorney?) to work on my behalf for reimbursements. And I must give back to Experian any reimbursements if I receive funds from another source (e.g., bank, credit card issuers, other insurance, etc.)
- Honestly inform Experian or pay back any reimbursements to them if they find that I misrepresented something
Obviously, any consumer uncomfortable with these 6 conditions should not sign an agreement with Experian Triple Alert. More importantly, $10,000 guarantee doesn’t provide much coverage. It seems easy to exceed that amount. Think of it this way: when you insure your home, you insure all of it, not part of it. The same applies to credit monitoring insurance or guarantees. If an identity thief steals all of my bank and financial accounts, I want insurance that covers everything. Not part of it. Moreover, residents of New York can't get coverage with Experian Triple Alert.
The National Advertising Initiative (NAI) has developed an opt-out tool with the express purpose of allowing consumers to "opt-out" of the targeted advertising delivered by its member networks. You can visit the NAI opt-out page and opt-out of this cookie tracking. Please visit: www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp for more information."
"Partner sharing Opt-out Options: If a business partner refers you to our Site, you may choose not to have your information shared with that partner by opting-out directly on your order form."
Consumers should be aware of this, since the site (and any Triple Alert partners) monitor customers' Internet use and serve up (supposedly) targeted, relevant ads.
So, the Experian Triple Alert service didn't look like a good deal to me. It looked like a poor value. It wasn't particularly easy to find. It doesn’t meet all or even most of my needs. The web site was skimpy on explaining important details and benefits. When the site provided explanations, it was often difficult to read, hard to find, and confusing. And, the service doesn't offer customizable e-mail/text messaging alerts to warn me as soon as possible of possible fraud. That's a state-of-the-art feature many banks and credit card issuers already provide their customers. Frankly, if the site pitching Experian Triple Alert to potential customers is this bad, then the actual service for customers probably is worse.
The Experian Triple Alert site did not prove to me any of the benefits it claimed, nor that Experian Triple Alert is a quality service worth signing up for. The site didn't convince me that it is better than other credit monitoring services available. The site seemed to pitch weak claims while trying to lure uninformed consumers.
All of this left me with the impression that Experian is a difficult brand to do business with. If I signed up for Experian Triple Alert, it would probably be a frustrating experience. No thanks. I prefer to look elsewhere for a credit monitoring service.
If you use the Experian Triple Alert service, please share your experiences. Why did you sign up? What works well? What works poorly? How well do the alerts, resolution, and reimbursement services help?
I received a letter on Saturday telling me that I was a victim of the Bank of New York data loss and was being offered free credit monitoring by "Triple Alert" for 12 months. I signed up promptly using the activation code provided and was informed by the screens that I was getting two years rather than 12 months of the service. I've already noted numerous "issues" with it, some of which you have mentioned above. I'll see how this progresses over the next few days and let you know more. Currently when I try to log in from the "Triple Alert" web site I'm not recognized. I can log in from a link that was sent to my e-mail address, but to do so I need to enter not only the user name and password that I set up but also my Social Security number!! Then I get to the very busy page that you have seen, the only difference being a notation of "Enrollment in process."
Thank you for your valuable web site. I greatly appreciate having it as a resource while coping with this situation.
Posted by: L | Monday, June 09, 2008 at 11:58 AM
Did you see this news of the long-time Chief Risk Officer of Bank of New York Mellon being promoted to CFO after the two recent data loss incidents: http://www.rttnews.com/ArticleView.aspx?Id=615563 ?!!
Posted by: L | Monday, June 09, 2008 at 07:42 PM
Thanks for the comments. I hadn't heard about BNY's CRO promotion to CFO. That's sad. Why? See my June 10th post.
Posted by: George | Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 08:49 AM
I received the BNY Mellon notice of data loss as well. The notice offers 24 months of free credit monitoring with Triple Alert through ConsumerInfo, which is an Experian company, as well as $25,000 Insurance. I've had trouble with credit monitoring services in the past, so I'm hesitant to sign up for this. Do they start charging after the two years are up? I pretty much agree with your assessment of the website and the quality of service they will offer.
L: I'm interested to hear what your experiences are. Poor credit monitoring might be better than no credit monitoring.
Also, I have no direct services through BNY Mellon, so I'm wondering why I got this letter.
Posted by: Step3 | Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 11:43 PM
Thanks for your comment. I do not know what BNY Mellon and/or Experian plan to do when your 24 months of free credit monitoring expires. You should ask them directly -- and demand a longer period of credit monitoring, since the risk of identity theft does not magically end after 24 months.
About why BNY Mellon contacted you, you should ask them. When IBM exposed my personal data in its data breach, I called and talked with an IBM representative. That representative answered many of my questions (you can read my questions in blog posts from July 2007). Since I'd moved my residence and had changed jobs, IBM had hired a private investigator to find me. BNY Mellon may have done the same in your situation. You should ask. The bank owes you a direct, honest answer.
Last, you say that poor credit monitoring might be better than no credit monitoring. I disagree. I prefer to view the situation this way: find the credit monitoring service that meets your needs, since you will need to monitor your credit long after the free-24-month period ends.
Sometimes, with something that's "free" you get exactly what you paid for.
Posted by: George | Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 06:34 PM
I'm having second thoughts about having signed up for the free credit monitoring. I don't like the fact that I must enter my Social Security number every time I log onto this. I would like to have genuine extra security features beyond the user name and password, but the type that would make sense to me would be for the site to ask me several security questions each time I log in, as some mutual companies do unless I set up a computer to default otherwise. This feature of requiring the Social Security number at each log-in makes me wonder about all of the policies associated with this product. I also wonder about additional workers having access to my data due to my having signed up for this. In fact, I decided not to opt-out of receiving advertising in the mail from a bank when I looked at the details of this bank's privacy notice. The instructions said that in order to opt-out I had to send my personal ID data to a separate information center, in a different state than those where the headquarters and my account are.
I don't think TripleAlert is going to be able to automatically renew because I didn't have to give credit card information to sign up. I only needed the code from BNY as "payment."
I've been reading several books about identity theft, and the risk for the victims is thought to become greater rather than less after two or more years have passed since the data breach incident. Hence, the two years of insurance is not a big plus.
Posted by: L | Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 10:13 AM
L: What is your connection to BNY Mellon? I can't find any direct connections for my investment accounts. My one thought is that Sharebuilder used them before it became a part of ING.
Posted by: Step3 | Friday, June 27, 2008 at 01:40 AM
I started an ADR account for one company through BNY's "Global BuyDIRECT" back in the late 1990s.
George's wife was also affected by the BNY data breach. I'm not sure if her connection is specified on this web site, if so I haven't read that section.
Posted by: L | Friday, June 27, 2008 at 03:42 PM
A few months ago on the main campus of Georgetown University, an office was broken into and a portable hard drive was stolen. This unencrypted, non-password protected and PORTABLE hard drive contained the names and social security numbers and other personal information of thousands of employees, students, and graduates. I was sent a letter and an email notifying me that I was affected, and that free credit monitoring would be provided by Experian with their Triple Alert. I have been using the service and find it painfully insufficient. It does not include credit reports and so far has only informed me of "changes to my account" when there are inquiries made into my credit history (i.e. landlord or employer background checks). I get alerts by text message on my mobile phone, but I cannot call to see what the "alert" is, I have to check my email, follow the link and log in to see if the "alert" is just another inquiry or if it's a thief trying to buy a new car with my personal info. Thank God, it has so far been only false alarms, but I have to scramble to a computer right away where ever I am to find that out.
Of course, Georgetown has had problems with security before but this gross negligence really took the cake. I think it was over 20,000 people affected. And all we get was the crappy Triple Alert and an empty promise like "we're forming a committee to look into upgrading our protocols" or something like that. I'm a recent graduate and I have friends and family at the university, and I know that the University Information Systems office already had protocols and guidelines for the departments to follow. In the case of the stolen hard drive, the office of Student Affairs is to blame for not protecting the information like they should have, but no personnel have been disciplined and no leader has accepted responsibility.
Anyone reading this must have some interest in protecting their personal information, and so I want to warn you that Georgetown University unapologetically doesn't care a bit about protecting it. Make sure any institutions you associate with respect your privacy before ever doing business with them.
Posted by: Georgetown Grad | Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 12:51 PM
I have also recieve that same letter some of you have gotten from BNY mellon shareowner services. they were writing to me on behalf of the Walt Disney Company, so maybe some of you who recieve this letter and didn't know why you got it, it might be because you have stock in walt disney. yay, they're offering me 24-month period and 25,000 in identiy theft insurance. but the theft insurance is provided by virginia surety company.
as i read on it seems like to much work. I wonder if you do signed up for triple alert you are agreeing to not sue the company?
So should i sign up for it or not? i've never monitor my credit report before so any suggestions? thanks
Posted by: Jake | Friday, July 11, 2008 at 01:57 PM
I have the same situation and same questions as Jake. Is signing up for triple alert better than doing nothing? Entering your social security number frequently seems risky in itself. Help! Thanks!
Posted by: Glenn | Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 06:28 PM
For Jake and Glenn:
Both of you asked: is Triple Alert better than nothing? To me, that is not the proper question. The better question is: what's the best way to protect yourself and your identity data?
You have more choices than Triple Alert or nothing. The ID-Theft Resources page in this blog lists many credit monitoring services. So, there's lots to pick from.
If identity thieves have already caused damage to your financial accounts, then credit monitoring, a Security Freeze on your credit reports, and credit resolution services all seem necessary. If identity thieves haven't caused any damage yet, your choice depends upon your financial needs, budget, and the risk you are comfortable with.
If you are a novice and know nothing about identity theft, then Triple Alert may be a good starter service for you. If you are knowledgeable about identity theft, then you probably want something stronger, more customizable, and more comprehensive.
I do not know your situations, so I cannot say exactly what you should do. I am a consumer just like you, who is trying to navigate my way through this identity marketplace. Like any other product or service, you should read reviews and talk to current service subscribers. Think of my review above as a start. You should continue to read more reviews and inform yourself.
If we were discussing cars, you'd talk to car owners who already drive the car you are interested in. You'd also read auto reviews by independent labs or auto publications. The identity theft marketplace isn't as sophisticated as the auto marketplace, so the independent test labs and publications aren't quite there, yet. So, you'll have to dig and surf the Web for opinions and answers.
In a future blog post, I will discuss my approach towards identity protection, given my situation and risk preference. Your situation and risk preference are probably different. Again, if we were discussing cars, your driving habits, driving preferences, and budget would all dictate your choice in cars.
The same applies to your financial situation. Your personal data exposure, financial needs, budget, and risk preferences will dictate the type of credit monitoring service and protections you choose.
Each year, new cars are introduced with new features. Much the same applies to credit monitoring services. There are newer services to be reviewed and considered. Things are changing.
Shop around, keep reading, and stay informed.
Posted by: George | Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 07:20 PM
This is an update on my experience with Triple Alert.
On the positive side, I logged into my Triple Alert account to change my password and was promptly notified by e-mail that the account had been accessed and the profile updated.
On the other hand, I haven't been notified of two recent checks of my credit that were done by a bank and a credit union. (In general, checks on my credit are rare because I have opted out of receiving marketing offers based on it. My credit reports became much less "busy" after I opted out.) About two months ago I opened a new account at a bank. A credit check was done, and I was shown the report. About a week and a half ago I opened a new account at a credit union. A credit check was done using a different service than the bank had used. I was shown the report, and the recent check on my credit by the bank appeared on that report. However, Triple Alert has not notified me of either credit check being done. This is the type of thing that I would like to have a service notify me of, in case someone else was out opening bank/credit union accounts in my name.
Posted by: L-E | Monday, July 21, 2008 at 07:20 PM
Posted by: curious | Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 05:53 PM
Like you Curious, I became very suspicious of the letter from Mellon after visiting the website directed by the letter to sign up for Triple Alert. It looked faked and felt faked. There was no connection from the official Experian site or the Consumerinfo.com site. What concerned me even more was the inability to confirm the validity of the letter independently through the Bank’s official website. Yes, I found information using the address mentioned in the letter, but no where was there a connection using the BNY Mellon website. I found it even more interesting that the pages opened by the website www.bnymellon.com/tapequery looked the “same” as the other Mellon pages, but lacked certain information located on all the pages I had referenced on the official Mellon site. The Disney investor relation website did not mention it at all. Fortunately in my searches to confirm the information , I stumbled upon this website and using it links, I found that information in the letter reflect an actual incident and that the letters format matches the draft letter submitted to the Maryland Attorney General. On one hand it makes me feel better that it is most likely not a scam, but on the other hand, I am angry that Mellon Bank thinks more about its image and PR than it does about it customers, past and present, piece of mind. I am glad that I no longer do business with them and will not in the future.
Posted by: Mike | Sunday, August 03, 2008 at 07:28 PM
Triple Alert seemed all right... until I tried to cancel the service:
I canceled via email, received a reply via email confirming the cancellation of the service stating my credit card would no longer be charged, etc; however, the next month I received a charge on my card and when I called to inquire I was told that the service could not be canceled via email and that you could only cancel over the phone with the assistance of a customer service rep. I tried to explain to her that I did cancel by email and that I still had it saved and that it therefore was possible. The rep continued to tell me cancelling by email was not an option and I became so angry that I disconnected the call. I then forwarded a copy of their cancellation confirmation to the customer service "support" email address requesting a refund and a response ASAP.... what did I get in return? They sent me the same automated "your account has been canceled as of this date (today)" message and indicated that I would not receive any additional charges from this point forward.... that was completely unacceptable!
I contacted customer service again by phone, the rep asked for my credit card number and I told her it should be in their system already since they just charged it... she couldn't give me any information without either my credit card number or my Social Security number, mother's maiden name, and blood type (practically). This rep also started getting nasty with me, reading from my file notes indicating that I had called in an hour earlier to cancel the service and that there was no record of my previous email confirmation a month earlier... finally, she put me on hold to consult with someone and she had the audacity to come back on the line and tell me that after speaking with her supervisor, I had been granted a "courtesy refund" since I have not accessed my Triple Alert account in over one month... a courtesy refund? WTF? They were giving me back my own money which they hadn't even been entitled to receive... within 7-10 business days, of course.
I will NEVER do business with this service again... when the customer service rep asked if she could do anything else for me, I was tempted to tell her she could elect to not be such a b*tch on her next customer call!!!
Posted by: Susan | Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 08:07 PM
I had the same Mellon Bank issue and the use of Triple Alert. It told me a bank had asked Experian for a credit check. I called the bank to find out why it had asked for my credit. It could not find my name in its system. I could not find out how to call Experian because after calling the number on their web site I got no answer.
Posted by: roppungi | Monday, December 22, 2008 at 06:28 PM
We have Equifax and Experian (just started the Experian Triple Alert due to a breach our company noted and gave the free service). Started a refinance last week and already received the notice from Experian Triple Alert but nothing yet from Equifax. I've had Equifax for years and noticed that the alerts are weeks later after the fact. I will have to rethink which one I want to keep. Your comments make me less comfortable with Experian. However their alert was immediate and Equifax's alerts are always at least a week or two later which seems to me way to late.
Posted by: n | Saturday, January 03, 2009 at 08:51 PM
I've been mugged in many venues by Bank of New York Mellon from my regular bank to stock companies to other financial companies. It is not necessarily from direct dealings with them just the dealings within the industry. BNYM seems to be responsible for a host of errors, amazing how it was kept oh so quiet. Hope they haven't gotten any $$ from stimulus package. Disgusted to read of the promotion of the responsible head. When will they get it?
Posted by: NG | Monday, February 02, 2009 at 03:56 PM
I signed up -- apparently -- for TRIPLEALERT (one word) a long time ago, I guess. It was long enough ago to forget the terms, which I thought were free. Apparently, in June 2008 I requested that the service be stopped, but I did not discover until summarizing my finances for the year, that I had been charged $29 and $1 each month for every month in 2008. I sent an email 1/25/09 pointing out that earlier email, and told them that I had not contracted for the monthly pay service, and wanted a refund as well as deductions be stopped. No response. A followup 2/11/09 (from "Esperian Customer Care) resulted in a response that "We received your email message. We will review and reply ... in the order ... received. With no further communication from them, I cancelled and changed the number of my credit card. and still have heard nothing. It seems to me that I had probably agreed originally (two or three years ago) to a free year of reports if anything was amiss, and then got a notice in June of 2008 suggesting that I cancel if I did not want to continue the service. The email message probably said something like "You don't have to do anything if you wish to continue" and, perhaps, some obscure notation about a fee. That -- to me - borders on fraud. I do still feel cheated out of nearly $300 in unwanted charges.
Posted by: Peter E. Black | Friday, February 27, 2009 at 10:48 AM
why is https://partner.experiandirect.com asking for my social security number AFTER my login information before giving me my update. For a company dealing in fraud and security issues, this seems like a giant no no - I don't want to give my soc to anyone, especially not anyone who sent me an email with a URL.
Posted by: andrea | Wednesday, March 04, 2009 at 12:39 PM
I also got signed up for TripleAlert after the BNY/Mellon data breach. I got an e-mail from them today saying there were changes to my credit report. When I used the login link in the e-mail, it first asked for my user name and password, then for my Social Security number. Like others above, I wasn't accustomed to giving my SSN like that. So I went to the Experian home page through Google and tried loggin in there. It didn't recognize my user/pass, and the "forgot your password" function didn't recognize my name, last four digits of SSN and birthday. So I called Experian directly, and they told me that yes, they do require you to enter your SSN when loggin in. So I went ahead and entered it and saw my report. I recently refinanced my mortgage and the report showed that activity. So it seems to be legit, but it all made me a little nervous.
Posted by: Erik | Friday, March 20, 2009 at 10:28 AM
I received a free 12 month credit monitoring through BNY Mellon. It's my understanding that it expired on 4/25 2008. I am not interested in paying for a continuation of my credit report. Thank you,
Posted by: Bernard Ribas | Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 04:30 PM
great post! good idea in monitoring credit specially on business. Thanks for tips and idea share on how to monitor credit. we will come back often.
Once again, thank you!
Posted by: Credit Monitoring Facts | Thursday, June 04, 2009 at 07:04 AM
After personal information was compromised at my bank, they offered this service for free. Actually, I think it works very well. If someone runs my credit, I'm alerted. If an account is opened, I am alerted. This suits my needs.
Posted by: Joanne | Monday, October 12, 2009 at 12:34 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience. Glad that you found it helpful. I was wondering if you investigated the Security Freeze option to lock down your credit reports. Did you ask your bank to pay the Security Freeze fees, since the breach was their fault? And if so, did they pay it?
Posted by: George | Monday, October 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM
What is the difference between Triple ALERT and Triple ADVANTAGE??? They both seem to be from Experian. I am a member of Triple Advantage for $12.95 per month and when I go to my report page there is an add that says "Get Triple ALERT for $4.95 per month" when I click on the link it sounds exactly the same as Triple Advantage. I would rather pay $4.95 than $12.95 if it is the same service - does anyone know the difference? Thank You.
Posted by: Diane | Sunday, November 08, 2009 at 03:40 PM
My reason for coming to this site is apparently different than most people's. I am only 23 years old, but I have worked hard to establish decent credit already in my life.
A while back I received a letter from the Gap (retail clothing store) stating there was a security breach and my information may have been jeopardized, and they offered me a year of free credit monitoring through Experian. I was just concerned with people opening accounts in my name, and I was curious to keep up with my credit score. I used the service for a year and was happy with it.
This ended in January. I am now again wanting to start monitoring my credit report regularly for the same reasons, but more so to monitor my score since having some changes in the last year. I still want to make sure everything is where I want it to be with my credit. My bank offers monitoring, but it is 12.99/month and it gives you a report from all 3 companies but only every 3 months. So I calculated that to mean I would basically be paying over $50 for 1 report.
I decided to look on Experian because that is what I had before. I was happy with my service before, but then again it was free....so I kind of felt I didn't have much room for complaints. I saw the Triple Alert or Triple Advantage that offers monitoring through all these 3 bureaus, but first wanted to look around to see if there was a better service.
Then I stumbled upon this. I had never really considered a lot of these concerns because I kind of thought, someone would be stupid to steal my identity - my credit is mediocre and they not even be able to get approved for some stuff using my credit! But then again, I guess anything is possible.
So my ultimate question is, in the end, how many people are satisfied with the Experian Triple Alert or Triple Advantage? And can you suggest a BETTER service within the same price range? Any information you can suggest would be greatly appreciated!
Posted by: Jennifer | Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 03:28 PM
You've raised some good questions. Your age doesn't matter. Neither does your mediocre credit score. Identity thieves and criminals will abuse anyone's identity if they feel they can make money and get away with it.
Yes, the various credit monitoring services can get pricey. You are wise to look for VALUE in a credit monitoring service. It sounds like you have looked only at the credit monitoring services operated by the credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. There are several independent credit monitoring services, such as Lifelock, Debix, Identity Guard, and others. Many of these I have reviewed in this blog.
Shop around and read the terms of service for each one. Since your sensitive personal data has ALREADY been exposed by the Gap store, you might consider placing a Security Freeze (also called a Credit Freeze) on your 3 credit reports. That way, nobody can take out new credit in your name. I did after my sensitive personal data was exposed during IBM's breach in 2007.
A freeze won't stop all fraud, but it'll close a big door. I placed the Security Freeze on my credit reports myself. When you need to apply for credit you can temporarily lift the freeze for the credit report needed. You'll still have to pay the fee to place and lift the freeze, but I believe it is well worth it for consumers who have had their sensitive personal data exposed already during a breach.
To learn more about Security Freezes, in right column click on the CREDIT FREEZE topic in the tag cloud. I hope that this helps. Let us know what happens. And, Happy Thanksgiving.
Posted by: George | Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 07:36 PM
i signed up for the free trial service and i canceled it within the trial days but i'm still charged. i won't use their service anymore. their monitoring might be good but i dont like how they run their business
Posted by: naomi | Friday, November 27, 2009 at 11:43 AM
There are so many players in the identity theft protection arena it can be overwhelming. After my credit card was stolen, I tried to figure out which credit report monitoring service was the best when I came across NextAdvisor.
They seem to have done their homework, and their credit report monitoring reviews (Link: http://www.nextadvisor.com/credit_report_monitoring/index.php) were very helpful. They really helped me to make an informed decision and did not get charged for free trials!
Posted by: Margaret | Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 06:45 PM
I am a member of Triple Advantage through Experian and my fiance & I have updated our reports daily and monitored the accounts extremely closely, yet there has not been even one change in our credit SCORES in a 30 day period. Major new purchases have been made and major delinquiencies have been noted, yet both of our scores have remained the same. I complained to the customer service reps numerous times with no resolution before opening a new trial account with privacy matters to find that experian reported a much higher and more accurate score on each of our accounts! I am displeased with the service provided by Triple Advantage as of now!
Posted by: Cheryl | Thursday, February 04, 2010 at 01:55 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience with Experian's TA. Sorry to hear of the poor service you are getting. You might write a letter to the VP of Marketing and see if that gets a response. If so, feel free to share it with us here.
Posted by: George | Thursday, February 04, 2010 at 02:14 PM
I RECEIVED AN E-MAIL MONTHS AGO ABOUT TRIPLE ALERT. I DID A WEB SEACH AT THAT TIME AND COULD NOT FIND A CONNECTION TO EXPERIAN. THE EXPERIAN SITE WOULD NOT CONFORM A CONNECTION WITH TRIPLE ALERT. I SENT AN E-MAIL BACK TO THE SENDER OF THE TRIPLE ALERT MESSAGE AND SAID DON'T BOTHER ME. I RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL ABOUT 5 MINUTES LATER. THE CALLER SIAD:"ALL WE NEED IS YOUR SSN". I TOLD THEM DO NOT BOTHER ME ANY MORE AND HUNG UP. I STILL RECEIVE OCCASIONAL MESSAGES SAYING MY MONTHLY REPORT IS READY JUST GO TO SUCH AND SUCH WEB SITE. I WILL NOT DO THAT.
I EVCEN NOTIFIED THE GOV FRAUD SITE WHEN THIS FIRST HAPPENED AND SENT A LETTER TO EXPERIAN - NO RESPONSE.
Posted by: TONY | Tuesday, February 09, 2010 at 08:04 PM
Thanks to Tony for sharing your experience. Sounds like Tony received a phishing e-mail message from some identity crooks. There are resources in this blog about phishing e-mail messages and phishing web sites. Use the search mechanism in the left column to find them.
It was good that Tony performed a web search, notified the .Gov fraud site and notified Experian. Perhaps Experian will reply soon. When they do, I hope that Tony shares Experian's reply in a comment below.
Posted by: George | Friday, February 12, 2010 at 11:29 AM
Posted by: Ali | Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 05:30 PM
I have just receive a letter from ECMC informing me that there is a recent data theft and it might affect me. They are telling me to sign up with ConsumerInfo.com. Is it safe? what should I do?
Posted by: Jenny | Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 07:43 PM
Good question. There is no single, correct answer since everyone's security needs are different. You should evaluate the free credit monitoring offer just as you would evaluate any other large product purchase.
If you already have a free credit monitoring service, you may or may not need the one provided by ECMC. If several family members have been affected, you may look for a service that covers several people together. Remember, long after the free credit monitoring period ends you will probably need to monitor your credit reports at all 3 major credit reporting agencies for fraudulent entries. So think of this as a longer term decision.
If you are a newbie, you probably want a credit monitoring service that provides plenty of hand-holding. If you are experienced with these matters, then you may decide to do things like Fraud Alerts and Security Freezes by yourself and not pay a service to do these things for you. You can learn about these things in this blog. Use the tag cloud or search box in the right column.
If thieves have already stolen money from your bank or financial accounts, or have taken out fraudulent loans in your name, then you will want a service that has solid, comprehensive credit resolution services -- not just insurance. If thieves have used your identity during a crime, then you'd want help with that, too.
Read the service description and the Terms of Service carefully. As a wise person said, the devil is in the details. The service's terms will explain what they will do and won't do to help you. Speak with people you trust.
Of course, you can read the reviews of several credit monitoring services in this blog; especially read the comments below each review from people who have already subscribed to the credit monitoring service you are considering.
If you have additional questions, feel free to ask again. Good luck.
Posted by: George | Friday, April 16, 2010 at 03:37 PM
Got the same ECMC letter on Saturday the 19th. Never heard of this guarantor and apparently, I'm tied nice and close to them because they are a FEDERAL student loans guarantor.
Letter states 3.3 million affected. They got names, SS#, Addresses, D.o.B., and information pertaining to student loans.
They're only offering 1 year coverage from Triple Alert
Posted by: Ron | Monday, April 19, 2010 at 09:21 AM
You know what, I just received a letter from one of my student loan holders and 2 years ago I got one from my mortgage company saying data had been stolen and I could get Experian's deal for a free period of time. It has been good to have my credit monitored, but I am starting to wonder if these credit monitoring services aren't the ones stealing people's data. Must cost a pretty penny for a company to give 2 years of service to millions of people whose data has been stolen.
Posted by: Brian | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 09:59 AM
Thank you for this article. It is so important to consumers. Too many are willing to take advantage of others trying to make things right who are already in financial difficulty. This article gives people a chance to look for hidden costs before they sign up with a service. Thanks again!
Posted by: JoeJ | Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 12:19 AM
I'm a newbe, I guess. I received a letter from ECMC stating I'm one of the 3.3 million people who's identity might have been stolen and that they are offering me EXPERIAN's triple alert "protection." However, the address they used to contact me was the Adderess I currently use at the college I'm attending, not my student loan addresss. that's fishy in itself, but this letter states; "RE: your account." There nothing really personal, which make me think the whole thing is a fraud and that they themselves are trying to steal my info for there purposes.
Posted by: Jon Downey | Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 03:44 PM
Just so you know, Ohio State University has recently jumped on the band wagon of compromising student data and then trying to saddle students with this service. Are the universities and the financiers in collusion?
Posted by: anon | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 09:23 PM
I've been using the Experian Triple Threat service from the BNY mess up and the 2 years of credit service was up earlier this year.
But.....I can still connect to their server and it recognizes my account, but only through the original link I was given.
I'm doubtful the info is good since the service is supposed to have expired.
There has been no attempt to bill me since it expired, not even a notice that it expired. I'm about to check out another service.
Have any users of this Experian/BNY offer experienced the same or similar situation?
Posted by: Jack | Friday, December 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM
Make that 'Experian Triple Alert' :D
Posted by: Jack | Friday, December 31, 2010 at 10:08 AM
I just received the letter from Ohio State, and it referred to the same event mentioned by anon (Dec 21). The event apparently occurred in October, about 4 months ago. OSU's web site goes to significant lengths to persuade the recipients that this service is legitimate and contracted by OSU, including a phone number for requesting a copy of the police report.
It still doesn't smell right to me. But I suppose that there's no inconsistency between OSU acting in good faith and Experian using the free trial as a profit source (the way they make money from "free credit reports").
Posted by: dan | Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Well, I am displeased with the service provided by Triple Advantage as of now!
Posted by: whatcreditmonitoring | Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 01:57 PM
I believe ETA is a SCAM. Thanks for this great Info mugged! I just signed up for it thinking it must be a good service coming from the bureau itself, but think again. What in the hec is going on these days. You can not trust anyone. The BBB has just been exposed for shakedowns and now I can not even trust the credit bureaus. NOTE if you did not see the report on the BBB see it at 6o Minutes website.
Anyway as for Experian, what a joke. After I joined the service, I went to my account page and tried to change my alert settings to receive SMS-text alerts. I entered in my SMS number and clicked update account and the SMS number did not appear anywhere on my profile. My regular phone number appeared, but not the SMS number. There was not even a place to say that I did not have one, just another prompt to check add SMS text number and update...again. I do not believe this was a temporary site issue; it was a CHEAP ill-legit web design.
I called the company to ask why the SMS number would not come up on my profile and the (very hard to understand Indian) customer service rep said that the SMS number was not available to her. She could tell me everything else on my account...just not the SMS number. I said let me talk to a supervisor. She said we can not do that. I said I want to cancel; she put me on hold for 3 mins came back and said that they did indeed have my SMS number and that they would be sending me a text in a few days.
Again I asked her what the number was and she said that I would have to tell her...because she could not give that info out. OMG, this is a scam!!! Whats more, she asked me for my SS# right off the bat and I was stupid enough to give it to her. I hung up and called back to cancel. The next rep asked me for my email to find my account; then he said he could not find my account with the email so he needed my SS#. I told him I would NOT give it...and that the last rep found my account with my email...maybe he was misspelling it, so he retried it and low and behold he found it. Hummmm
Canceling was hard, they just try to resell you and then he told me I was going to be charged, even though I did not use the service. I doubt I was even cancelled and fully expect to be charge again and again.
I am shocked by this experience and wonder if any of these services are legit. I think the solution it to allow everyone free or at least cheap unlimited access to their credit reports. I can monitor it myself. Why should I have to pay big bucks to access a web-site?!?
Posted by: Chris | Friday, March 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM
I received the BNY letter and 2 years of free Experian TripleAlert service. It seemed to work well - supplying info about queries that I knew were coming & some that I did not. So I have been happy with the service.
However, I just now received notification that my free period was over. I could give them a credit card number and continue the $4.95 per month or $49.50 a year service. However, they do warn that they do not take cancellations and will keep your money. Gave me pause.
I am looking for guidance through this confusing sea. Hate to pay a lot but afraid not to do something & this is 'all Greek to me'.
Further one of our credit card companies just caught 3 charges made out-of-state on the card and we still have our cards. Nothing on Experian about this.
Posted by: Jean | Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Of course its true that Experian Triple Monitoring Service offers less clarity in their sites.But its better to have poor credit monitoring instead of no credit monitoring.There are some companies which doesn't offer any credit monitoring in New York.So I feel that its better to use Experian Triple Monitoring Service.
Posted by: טיול מאורגן | Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 10:48 AM
I actually had a good experience with TripleAlert, they saved me from fraud in Europe after we returned from vacation there in August. They stopped the payments immediately and called us within 1 hour of the initial charges.
Posted by: Thomas | Wednesday, November 09, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I did not sign up for this but I am being charged. I will be trying to get some legislative action done.
Posted by: john doe | Monday, December 12, 2011 at 09:07 PM
My VISA card was fraudulently used by Amazon dot com's third party vendors in books/music. I didn't find out until I went to buy gasoline! Experian didn't catch it. I went to log-in a week after my card was frauded, and Experian does the username and social security screen inputs, then says I need a credit card so I can view my alerts! They also just automatically raised me to the Triple Advantage at $17.95/month without my ever asking, and they didn't get my permission! I called and some foreign-speaking woman with very poor English said she needed my ss# again, and date of birth, etc., but it was so noisy in her end, like she was using a cellphone in a football stadium, which gave me the creeps. To think overseas has all our personal info: how can we protect ourselves when they give away our confidential information without our permission? My medical HMO group outsourced our medical charts to India, too. I don't think we need The Big Three having ALL our data, and them holding the keys--we should have the data and the only "keys". My parents never had this crap to deal with! Congress, again, fails to legislate our safety. The Big Three are hold-up thieves as far as I am concerned!
Posted by: Nurse Karen | Monday, January 23, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Experian.com: I hate it when these companies trick you into monthly services. What a rip off! I hate it!! This one is no exception. Even though I tried NOT to sign up for a monthly service, wouldn't you know it . . . a monthly fee shows up on my bill. So I call them and what do I get? "Umm, we don't do refunds."
Stay away from this company!! Are there no honest companies left?
Posted by: EMCCW | Friday, March 02, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I guess I signed up for the Experian TripleAlert service and didn't even know it until I got charged. I called them and asked them to cancel my membership. Does anyone know how long it takes to recieve the e-mail conformation of the cancelation?
Posted by: david | Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 01:03 PM
MyCreditKeeper.com is great, they are upfront and honest, and only about $10/mo for triple report and credit scores. Your first set of credit scores takes about 30 days to be displayed, and I think they are updated every 30 days or so. They even have a form letter to dispute incorrect info on your report and lots of other useful links and info. I have used them for about 10 mo. now and have had no problems.
Posted by: Angela | Friday, August 03, 2012 at 02:00 AM