Don't be fooled into paying for services that place a fraud alert or help stop the junk mail from coming in. These are both required by law to be free!
We've learned about companies, like LifeLock.com, who are providing services like the fraud alert and opt-out. For instance, you can place a 90-fraud alert by contacting one of the three credit bureaus. We're providing a link to the FTC's page describing the fraud alert and how to use it. Note that the extended 7-year fraud alert is limited to identity theft victims. As for opting-out of prescreening, and other ways to limit junk mail, please check out Privacy Rights Clearinghouse's informative site.
The security freeze is a more effective identity theft prevention tool because it actually helps to prevent new accounts from being opened using your information. 26 states provide the security freeze, and 21 of these states provide it to all consumers before being identity theft victims. If you live in a state that gives you the option of using the freeze, you will need to make a request to each of the bureaus and you may need to pay a fee (usually around $10 or less) with the requested information. For more information on the security freeze, please visit this page.
Don't waste your hard-earned money!