A: Here are the three main options:
- Credit Monitoring – does not prevent ID theft, but it can make you aware of it very quickly when someone opens lines of credit or accounts in your name. This can help minimize the damage.
- Set up a Fraud Alert – which requires a lender to verify verbally that you made an application for a new account. You can only set up a permanent fraud alert if you have been a victim of ID theft. Otherwise, you can only set a fraud alert for 90 days.
- Freeze your Credit – This is the most effective. You have to set up the freeze with each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) which may cost $5 – $10 each. The freeze prevents new credit accounts from being established until you unfreeze your credit. Keep in mind that the freeze does not protect unauthorized behavior on existing accounts.
For more, read: Identity Theft – How to Protect Your Credit