I try to post about this topic from time to time just to remind everyone it is important to keep on top of your credit report. You never know when some crook out there might try to steal your hard work.
Now of course there are credit monitoring services out there and I’m not going to say they are bad but I’m not sure they are always worth the expense as there are some cheaper and more effective ways to do this.
To begin with you are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax).
The one and ONLY place to go to obtain these free reports is the official federal government site at www.annualcreditreport.com
One trick I tell people to use is to spread out the reports. Do one agency now, then another in 4 months and then the third 4 months later. This allows you to spread things out and get 3 reports over the course of the year.
If you want a little more security then freeze your credit. You can do this by going to each of the three credit reporting agencies web sites and looking for the freeze credit option. It might cost you a small fee (always under $ 10) but when you do this your credit will be frozen and can only be unlocked with a secret code that only you know.
So if you get down the road and want to use your credit then you can unfreeze things but otherwise nobody can get credit in your name even if they know all of your personal data.
Consumer guru Clark Howard has some excellent advice at his web site.