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Added July 16, 2010 from: Mike Killian
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 Mike Killian
Answered By Mike Killian: A credit freeze locks the data at the consumer reporting agency until an individual gives permission for the release of the data. Today, credit freezes are made possible by state laws as well as industry-initiated rules. Credit freezes are frequently viewed as the most effective way to prevent financial identity theft.

A fraud alert is something that the major credit bureaus attach to your credit report. When someone tries to open a credit account the lender should contact you to verify that you really want to open a new account. If you aren't reachable by phone, the credit account shouldn't be opened.

If you suspect you're a victim of identity theft, consider initiating a fraud alert, a credit freeze or both. A credit freeze is the stronger option of the two. It tightens access to your credit data by allowing you to freeze all access to your credit file.

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