Do you ever need a credit score monitor?

By Ismat Sarah Mangla

(Money Magazine) -- The pitch: The FTC is cracking down on sites that mislead people into thinking they're getting a free credit report when they're really signing up for a monitoring service. (One offender:

But don't expect ads for these services to end: All three credit bureaus still offer to watch your credit for $15 a month. They claim to protect you from fraud. But are they worth it?

The details: All monitoring services let you know about indications of fraud (such as new accounts, name changes, and big balances). A few, including Equifax's Score Watch, will also tell you when your score goes up and down -- and why.

The bottom line: Credit monitoring isn't worth it unless you have good reason to think your data has been exposed -- say, you lost your wallet. And even then, it doesn't stop someone from opening a new account in your name, says John Ulzheimer of

The only way to do that is by freezing your credit reports at all three bureaus through a service like TrustedID (typical cost: $20 to $40). That will keep new lenders from looking at your reports and prevent accounts from being opened by anyone -- including you. The downside: To take out a loan, you'll have to pay $15 to unfreeze your reports.

The exception: If you have a financial goal (like buying a home) in the months ahead and want to know what actions boost your score as well as when it hits a certain threshold, Equifax's Score Watch may be worth the price.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 4:56pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17


General Mills has scrapped a controversial change to its fine print that some read as eliminating customers' right to sue the company. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.