Credit monitoring involves monitoring your credit history for suspicious activity. The three credit bureaus offer credit monitoring for a modest fee, providing services such as allowing you to check your credit files every day for theft, receiving email alerts of suspicious account activity and receiving unlimited scores and credit reports.
Fraud monitoring allows you to monitor public record databases for suspicious activity. Public record databases can show if someone has broken the law using your identity.
Beware of companies that guarantee they can prevent identity theft. While you can mitigate your risk of becoming a victim and the damage after a compromise, no one can give you a 100% guarantee that you can escape. Even if you do everything right, you might still be on the wrong database at the wrong moment. Never forget, the bad guys are getting better and better at what they do and are often far ahead of the good guys.