WHAT IT DOES: Blocks credit bureaus from releasing information from your credit report to lenders or other businesses without your permission, effectively stopping identity thieves from opening a credit card, cell phone account or other credit accounts in your name.
WHAT IT COSTS: For Pennsylvania residents, it costs $10 (plus tax) to initiate a freeze or to temporarily lift (thaw) one. There's no charge to permanently remove a freeze. Freezes are free for people 65 and older and for ID theft victims who submit a police report. In addition, ID theft victims can request a thaw at no charge.
WHERE TO START: Visit each of the three main national credit bureaus' websites for information or call them toll free at: Equifax, 1-800-685-1111 (press 3); Experian, 1-888-397-3742 (press 2); TransUnion, 1-800-680-7289 (press 3).