You can prevent identity theft by freezing your credit report. This process prevents creditors and lenders from pulling your credit report and score unless you first unlock it by providing a password. Because most credit applications require a credit check, thieves making applications in your name will get denied when the creditor can't check your credit.
How to Freeze Your Credit Report
You must freeze your credit report at each credit bureau individually since there’s no way to freeze all three credit reports at once. Requests to freeze your credit report must be made in writing and include your name, address, date of birth, social security number, copy of a valid id, proof of address (e.g. copy of utility bill) and payment. Payment can be made via check or credit card.
Special Documents for Identity Theft Victims
In most states, you don't have to pay to freeze (or unfreeze) your credit report if you've been a victim of identity theft. Identity theft victims should provide proof of the theft, i.e. a copy of a police report, identity theft report, or DMV report. The credit bureau probably won't return your proofs, so send copies not originals of all documents. Finally, mail your request via certified mail with return receipt requested to the credit bureau.
After the credit bureau receives your request, it will respond to you with confirmation that your credit report has been frozen. You will also receive a PIN or password to use whenever you need to temporarily unfreeze or permanently remove the freeze from your credit report.
Freezing Your Credit Report at Each Credit Bureau
Visit each credit bureau’s site for the security freeze mailing address and fee schedule for your state.