It was Saturday, Dec 28 at about 4:30 pm when I was in a well known department store exchanging a couple of shirts that I received as Christmas presents and picking up a few more items courtesy of a gift card that Santa left under the tree for me. While at the checkout counter, the very friendly and helpful sales associate informed me of a sale on men’s shirts and told me that if I used the store’s credit card to charge the small balance of the purchase, I would receive an additional discount over the current sale price (which was already discounted almost 50%, mind you). So, I whipped out my store card, blew the dust off and handed it to the associate who asked me about the last time I had used the card. “About 2 years ago” was my response and she told me that I would probably have to renew the card in order to use it. I agreed and it was all taken care of right there on the computer terminal at the checkout area.
Of course, I was careful about giving my information to the associate, but I was comfortable as I was able to input all of my own personal information into the system myself via the card keyboard and there were no other people around to “look over my shoulder” or listen to any of the dialogue that I had with the sales associate. My credit was approved, the items were paid for and I realized further discounts on my merchandise, life was good.
Afterward, I got my goods and browsed through the mall for a bit, on the lookout for any other after-Christmas bargains. I was able to pick up a few things here and there, and went back home satisfied and happy with my clothing and other purchases. By now, it was probably about 6:30 pm and I looked forward to heading out to a small get-together with a few friends.
The next morning, Sunday, December 29, 2013, at 10:01 am, I received a text message alert and an e-mail alert from PrivacyGuard informing me of the following:
Member Number: XXXXXXXX
We have detected activity on your credit report.
Log in to your account at PrivacyGuard.com and view your updated score.
Understanding this notification
Your PrivacyGuard membership includes daily monitoring of your Experian,
Equifax, and TransUnion credit files.
Certain changes have been detected that may or may not be an
indication of fraud.
It’s important that you review the details of this notification immediately.
Our goal is to keep you better informed on your credit.
You can rest easier, knowing PrivacyGuard is working 24/7 to help protect your credit and identity
If you have any questions on your recent alert, please contact the Credit Information Hotline at 1-800-270-3819, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (ET).
For questions on your membership account details, please contact us at 1-800-270-3819 or go to www.PrivacyGuard.com/secure/MyProfile.aspx
PrivacyGuard Customer Service
When I saw the e-mail, I immediately thought of the transaction at the department store and I knew that they had probably made an inquiry into my credit report in order to approve the renewal of my store card. The e-mail alert was direct enough to get my attention, yet balanced enough that it served to alert me of activity and not alarm me into any sort of panic situation.
However, since I had used my credit cards quite a bit over the preceding two weeks, I started to wonder if something else had triggered the alert. Well, upon logging into my PrivacyGuard account and reviewing the recent activity, I verified that it was indeed the store card inquiry into my credit report that set off the alert.
I was very impressed with the PrivacyGuard service, as this notification reached me less than 24 hours after there was activity recorded on my credit report. The service responded quickly, accurately and through multiple communication channels. In this case, the activity was completely justified and there were no unauthorized transactions or activity that could have harmed my credit. However, if this had been a some more nefarious, like a case of someone trying to open up a credit account under my name or social security number without my knowledge, I would have known about it less than 24 hours later and I could have taken the appropriate action to protect my good credit standing. This is the very reason that many of us use credit monitoring as a credit protection tool.
Please visit PrivacyGuard.com today to review their credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. I happen to work as a contractor for Affinion Group, the company that runs PrivacyGuard, but that hasn’t affected my opinion in any way.