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Checking your credit report....

...is about as effective as shutting the barn door AFTER the horse has bolted. The only sure way to protect your identity is to freeze your credit files. Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax all have a program that enables you to do just that, or you can use one of the several credit monitoring services to do it for you. (They charge, but provide additional services.) You will receive a PIN to temporarily unfreeze it when you need to allow access to someone you want to run credit on you. One of the agencies will charge you $10 to do this, but that's a small price to pay for being totally protected when your credit is frozen. If someone tries to steal your ID, they can't run credit in your name; thus the identity theft is worthless, and immediately abandoned.

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