Going the Extra Mile
Because identity theft has become such a problem, each of the credit reporting agencies offers a program to help thwart thieves. Equifax offers "Credit Watch," Experian offers "Credit Manager," and Trans Union offers "Credit Monitoring." All of these are similar services, in which the company will watch your credit report, and if any requests are made for information, will call you to verify that you're applying for new credit before releasing any info. The price varies from company to company, but if you're uneasy and feel vulnerable, these services do offer a little more peace of mind.
The bottom line is that with a little planning and a lot of diligence, you can take many of the steps necessary to prevent identification theft for little or no cost. The key is vigilance; keep on top of developments in technology and your financial information. Like most thieves, identity thieves are looking for an easy mark. The harder you make it for them to get your identity, the less likely they are to make the effort.