If you’ve been subject to identity theft like me (twice so far), you should strongly consider having access to your credit report frozen. This will greatly decrease the chance of someone else establishing a new line of credit using your identity. Consumers Union has a great summary of the details for all the states that currently allow you to freeze access to your credit report. The credit industry doesn’t want you to do this, of course, so they have fought it for a long time and tried to make it hard to accomplish.
One downside is that it can make it hard to for you to get quick access to credit. But, maybe not being able to walk into a Lamborghini dealership and walk out with $100,000 of debt isn’t such a bad thing. However, if you really are trying to line up new credit for a well thought out reason, such as when buying a house, you do have to remember to unfreeze access in advance. You definitely don’t want to lose a house because you couldn’t get the funding together quickly enough.
Thanks to Dan Wallach (Go Rice Owls!) for his informative post on Fredom to Tinker.