As we transition to a more virtual way of life, and use the internet to provide for our needs such as: online shopping, online school, virtual meetings, and streaming entertainment, now more than ever, protecting our identity online must be made a priority. Identity theft is a rising concern and has grown considerably from about 490,000 in 2015 to 650,000 in 2019. Keeping your information safe and secure is important, but it is not enough to keep your identity safe from theft and fraud from clever hackers. You must actively monitor your online identity. To help Credit Karma is a free app that is great for credit monitoring as well and offers free identity monitoring. Identity monitoring works by checking to see if your information has been involved in a data breach.
When your personal information has been shared without your consent and/or knowledge, this is a breach in your information. This can happen when someone has stolen your information and attempts to use it to obtain credit. Credit Karma scans websites, including the dark web, to find any breaches in your information. You will be provided with a list of places your information has been shared. Not everything you find, but do not recognize, is a data breach, there are many reasons why you may not recognize places where your information was accessed. The most important thing will be to look through everything and make sure you recognize all open accounts.
Credit Karma also offers credit monitoring with tools to help you build, rebuild and/or manage your credit profile. It is set up as a dashboard with reporting from 2 of the 3 major credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax. The dashboard provides you with tools to help you manage your credit score and any accounts you have open. The “loans” and “cards” section helps find credit cards options to either build your credit or offer a better interest rate than what you are currently getting. The loan section will find “loans” that can help you consolidate debt, take a vacation, or pay for home improvements. How the loan section works is Credit Karma will scan loan offers and present you with options, and rate your chances on getting approved by excellent, good, and fair. It is important to note that anytime you have Credit Karma scan for credit cards or loans they are only doing a pre authorize and therefore your credit rating isn’t affected.
In the “auto” section of the app, you have insurance options, auto loans you may be approved for, and options for refinancing your current loan. The “home” section offers a large variety of tool to help you with your home buying or refinancing a home journey. The “Buy a home” section helps you know what home loans you may be qualified for or what you will need to do to qualify for one. It also provides information for refinancing your home, see insurance options, and even help you find a real estate agent. Credit Karma builds your profile, based on your personal information, like name, address, and social security number, from that profile it will let you know your home buying power. It also has a simulator that can help you see what your home buying power could be by changing your monthly income, current debt, and credit score.
Credit Karma is so much more than monitoring your credit and identity, they have compiled a complete set of tools to help you keep your information confidential and stay on top of your credit rating. Download Credit Karma here for Android or here for iPhone and see how it can help you.