With cybercrime on the rise, your personal information is at risk now more than ever. One of your best lines of defense is monitoring your credit.

You’re able to check your free credit report annually from the three major credit bureaus. And there’s nothing wrong with using this free service to review your credit report. However, a once-a-year check of your credit report and scores offers little protection against cybercriminals and identity thieves.

Here are five reasons you should invest in a credit report and identity theft protection service.

1. Fraud & Social Security Number Alerts

If your data has been compromised, joining a credit report and identity theft protection service can help you track your credit report for key changes. If someone tries to use your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to open a new credit card or another new account, monitoring your credit means you are alerted right away rather than months or even years later. The longer identity theft goes on the more damage it can do, and undoing it is more complicated.

2. Your Credit Report from All Three Bureaus in One Place

With a credit monitoring service, you are able to keep track of all three of your credit reports from the three major bureaus – Experian™, Equifax® and TransUnion® – on one easy-to-read report. This can make it easier to spot inaccuracies in your credit report or signs of potential fraud.

3. Real-Time Credit Monitoring

Getting your annual credit report requires do-it-yourself monitoring. That’s because free, federally-mandated reports don’t come with a free credit monitoring alert feature. So, you won’t receive a convenient alert if the information on one of your credit reports changes or there is possible suspicious activity. Changes in your scores on your credit report can be one of the first signs of identity theft.

4. Identity Theft Restoration Assistance

When you get your free credit report and find accounts you didn’t open or other suspicious activity, do you know the next steps to report the fraud and retrieve your stolen identity? A credit report and identity theft protection service not only sends alerts if there is possible fraud, but it has a team of experts available to help members restore their identities. The quicker identity theft is detected the quicker it can be stopped, which can mean less money lost and less hassle for you.

5. Identity Theft Insurance

Credit report and identity theft protection services have protections to help restore your identity as well as make you whole if you’ve become a victim. Identity theft insurance can cover everything from stolen funds to lost wages to costs for attorneys as you deal with identity theft.

Joining an industry-leading credit report and identity theft protection service means having the tools you need to monitor your credit and your identity along with peace of mind knowing you’re protected.

The post 5 Reasons Why Your Free Credit Report Isn’t Enough appeared first on IdentityIQ.