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Credit Monitoring – Is It Worth The Trouble?

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded by financial professionals advising consumers to seek credit monitoring. The contention seems to be that credit monitoring is necessary for every individual and/ or small business. The truth is credit monitoring is essential if you are a small business or a consumer. Proper monitoring will help you keep close tabs on what is happening financially in your business records and alert you in the event of an attempted fraud, identity theft or any such problems. The greatest threat to a business is, of course, infiltration into the financial data and thereby gaining access to the finances of the individual and/ or small business. There are ways to protect yourself and your business.

Yes, It Can Happen To You!

You hear about identity fraud happening every day; perhaps, you do not believe that you could be the next victim. Hence, you never actually put much effort into trying to protect your property and finances. It is in fact, quite possible for you to fall victim to identity theft. Once your identity is stolen and used fraudulently, the process to recover damages and reverse negative marks on your credit report can be a long and arduous process that can take years to undo.

Credit monitoring is a great way to keep a close tab on what is happening to your company's money and/ or to yours. Credit monitoring companies allow users to track and report normal spending so that habits can be detected automatically and then they are better able to detect when there is possible fraudulent activity. Credit monitors are professionals who are trained to watch out for the slightest deflection in financial transactions of consumers and businesses. Many times, identity theft happens gradually over time and in such small amounts that they can often be overlooked by consumers just paying off balances and not combing through statements.

Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure

Engaging a credit monitoring company will surely incur some minimal cost. However, such costs should be regarded as a necessary tool for financial stability. If you ever fall prey to identity theft; and that is a real possibility with the technological advancements in hacking, you will discover that the small price you would have paid for monitoring is miniscule compared to the damages of identity theft. Many victims of identity theft can attest to the devastation that identity theft can produce. Lives have been destroyed due to financial ruin caused by such thefts. When a hacker gets into your account, you not only lose your money, you also lose your creditworthiness, which is very difficult to bring up post such attacks.

Besides monitoring closely the transactions made through your account, these companies will also teach you how to make your account more secure online. Among the must-know and must-do steps are:

- Change your passwords frequently; at least every quarter.
- Put a cap on the monthly transactions and have the bank notify you if it exceeds the cap, or have it automatically suspended. Transactions that are above the ceiling amount may be made with individual requests to the bank.
- Review and keep record of your credit report every four months. Carefully go through it for any discrepancies. You can get a credit report free from each of the credit bureaus once a year. For more effective monitoring, space out attaining a report. Retain a report from one bureau every four months.
- Get all your bills and bank statements (as many as possible) in e-form (online). This eliminates identity theft by “dumpster diving.” Dumpster diving thieves get your sensitive information by way of disposed trash. Remember that trash left outside can be taken by anyone. Invest in a paper shredder that cuts in diamonds to dispose of papers with personal information if you still rather receive paper bills each month.
- Ensure that your computer has an effective and up to date security system to guard against hacking and system vulnerabilities.
- Activate the text message/ email confirmation alerts for every transaction you make through the bank. Please note that while this works fine with small companies and personal accounts, it may not be feasible with large companies.

Protecting your financial security can be done effectively with a few simple tools. Credit monitoring is a vital tool for a small business as well as individual consumers. Credit monitoring is a prime example of one of those things in life that you would rather have and not need; than need and not have.

Humor as Business Promotion

Making people laugh is serious business; and the business is good. Promoting a business through humor and witty slogans and/ or campaigns can work miracles for your business. People love an involuntary chuckle at their problems. More often than not, it will infuse a good feeling about the product or service being promoted and will compel people to look further at the business.

For example, think of poking fun at credit repair and/ or debt management services with, “If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.( Earl Wilson)” or “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.(Bob Hope)”.

It has been proven that laughter can relieve stress. Relieving stress can help most people gain new perspective on any situation or encourage them to seek new resolutions. When the slogan or campaign is witty, it is even more captivating as people like to be intellectually stimulated.

The Do's and Don’ts of Marketing Your Business With Humor

You will find that marketing your credit repair business with humor is a double-edged sword. It can cut both ways. When done correctly, using humor as a promotional tool, can make your business a hit and your product's or service's popularity will suddenly shoot through the roof. Other times, the exact opposite may happen. Using humor improperly, can leave potential clients feeling ashamed of their situation and reluctant to seek help. Check out what is safe and not-so-safe in this type campaigning.

The Dos

- Do poke fun at the problem at hand; if you are referring to credit repair, you can poke fun at and about loans, bank problems, high interest rates, etc. This will touch a chord with the prospective clients who will find themselves laughing at the situation because they can relate. “Credit buying is much like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately and gives you a lift... The hangover comes the day after.(Joyce Brothers)”

- Do poke fun at the difficulties that credit repair will encounter vis-à-vis the expectations of the client. This will help the client feel more at ease with the issue at hand and be more patient when things do not move as fast as would be expected or as fast as they want. “Life was a lot simpler when what we honored was father and mother rather than all major credit cards.
(Robert Orben)”

- Do use the target audience's lingo and ways of expression in your fun-making marketing campaign. Most times, this will become an instant hit. “Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. (Ted Turner)”

The Don’ts

- Do not deviate from your service/ product. When it comes to advertising, it has been proven that consumers must be drawn into the campaign within seconds or they lose interest in the product or service being promoted. “Fun is like life insurance; the older you get, the more it costs.( Kin Hubbard)”

- Do not poke fun at any specific demographic of people/ religion/ political party. This can backfire for your business and professional life. “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need.( Will Rogers)”

- Do not be fatalistic. Your advertising should give your prospective clients hope for their situation. Advertising that gives people negative feelings will compel people to not seek out your services. “Money won't make you happy... but everybody wants to find out for themselves. (Zig Ziglar)”

- Do not forget your target audience at any time during your campaign. Make them feel good; make them feel wanted; make them feel pampered. “You want 21 percent risk free? Pay off your credit cards.( Andrew Tobias)”

Humor is a superb tool in marketing; but it has to be used very creatively and carefully for optimal results. Executed correctly, amusing advertising can catapult your business into new found success. Done poorly and you can find your business losing clients. It is important to create/ run pilots of your intended advertising so that you can ensure that you will get the positive results you want. Listen to the feedback you receive and change things accordingly. Using humor in advertising can work for your business as long as you understand your audience, the problems they face and the humor to be found in why you offer the products or services you do.

Resources

The Credit Repair Organizations Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Consumer Credit Protection Act
The Fair Credit Billing Act
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

 

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