The actual number of people that become victims of identity theft has climbed dramatically. This is because thieves are find newer and more advanced ways to get your personal information. For example, you may have made a purchase online and now you have found that there are other purchases from the same company that you did not make on your credit card bill.

This is a classic case of identity theft. The worse part about this is that this crime is happening more and more because people choose to shop online instead of in stores. This crime happens when someone gets a hold of your personal information and uses it to make purchases, get credit cards, get loans or anything else that one may need personal information to get or get into.

It is essential that we do everything we can to protect our selves from identity theft. Unfortunately once it happens the only thing you can do is stop it from getting worse. Once someone gets your personal information and wants to use it for their own personal gain you are pretty much out of luck. The person pretending to be you can get all kinds of things and run up countless amounts in bills and not think there is anything that can be done about it.

Fortunately, there are laws in place that somewhat protect our reputation and credit ratings if this happens. Federal law states that the victim is not responsible for anything over $50 of fraudulent charges. The card company is responsible for the rest of the charges. Many people do not know that identity theft is now considered a federal offense and is not taken lightly in a court of law.

If you have not been a victim of this crime you should start taking actions to keep yourself safe from financial harm. You should start by being extremely careful about to whom you give personal information to and only give it out when it is a need to know situation. Your social security number is the biggest thing that a thief can use against you along with your ID or drivers license number.

You should never carry your social security card on you if you do not need it. This card should be left in a safe place and any paper work with your number on it should be shredded or placed with your card. Your drivers license has to be on you at all times, therefore it is hard to keep it safe. If it alone or you purse/wallet is stolen you should contact the police immediately and file a report.

If you follow these tips, check your credit report frequently, and use a credit monitoring agency, it should help reduce your chance of becoming an identity theft victim.