I just signed up for 12 months of credit report monitoring via Equifax Credit Watch. They will monitor the 3 major credit reporting agencies and they will notify me of any changes to my credit history.
This is far from perfect as it costs $129.95. Equifax themselves is a credit agency, this service should be mandatory and free of charge. But for the time being, this is the best one can do to stay on top of their credit history.
A cheaper alternative is to request a free credit report every 12 months via AnnualCreditReport.com and deal with any discrepancies at that time.
Under the FACT Act amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are entitled to one free credit file disclosure in a 12 month period. To request this free annual disclosure you may contact the Central Source on-line at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also contact the Central Source to request this free annual disclosure by calling toll free (877) FACTACT or by using the mail request form available at the central source website by clicking the following link www.annualcreditreport.com.
This system puts the burden on the individual, not on credit reporting bureaus or creditors. Under the current system, individuals are guilty until they can prove their innocence - not very American, is it?
If our legal system worked in the same manner, people would be put in jail when accusations (substantiated or not) were made, and the burden would be on the individual to prove his innocence from the comfort of a jail cell.
I have gifted the Credit Watch program to my parents and each of my siblings. This issue won't end here...