The best proactive defense against basic identity theft is through the placing of an "Initial Fraud Alert" on all three of your credit reports.
This "Initial Fraud Alert" accomplishes three important factors:
1.) Your name and personal information can no longer be sold by the credit bureaus to ANY third parties for any marketing purpose (i.e. credit card offers, loan solicitations or credit prescreenings).
2.) No one can be approved for credit with your personal information until the creditor personally calls you at the telephone number you list on your consumer credit report. And,
3.) Requesting this initial fraud alert entitles you to a free copy of all three of your credit reports(one copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies).
Please be advised that this is an "Initial Fraud Alert" which lasts only 90 days. To extend the fraud alert and obtain the above mentioned benefits for 7 years you will need to write to each credit bureau at the address provided within your initial fraud alert confirmation letter.
(Note: It is likely credit bureaus will make the extended alert harder to obtain as a great deal of their revenue comes from the third party rental and sale your information).