More and more people are becoming victims of identity theft every day because they do not have the knowledge of what it is and how it happens. People who have been the victims of identity theft can have their credit ruined and in the long run have problems purchasing a home or care or getting any type of credit period. Fortunately, there are laws that protect people and their credit ratings if and when identity theft occurs.

It is a known fact that identity theft is one of the fastest growing, white-collar crimes in recent times according to the statistics of the FBI. It is also one of the complaints heard more often by the Federal Trade Commission. There are many ways a thief can get your personal records and use them to steal your identity. They can get jobs, credit cards, loans, and other things that can ruin your credit with just a few pieces of personal information.

The victim can be completely ruined financially by someone stealing their identities and running up bills and never paying them off. The victim is the one who will have to deal with the creditors that are furious and banks that they have never even been to or know of. The victim ends up with a bad credit rating and ruined reputation at the expense of someone else’s wrong doing.

Just like there are laws to help those who have had their identities stolen there are also ways to try and prevent or at least minimize damage to your financial situation. When it comes to giving out personal information, you should stick to a need to know basis only. You should never give out your social security number or drivers license number to any company that does not need it.

Other ways you can keep from giving out personal information is to be very careful about giving information out over the phone. Sometime we get odd phone calls from people wanting to give us a credit card or a loan and they usually ask for personal information. You can avoid giving them this information by asking that they send you an application form in the mail.

You should monitor your credit to make sure that you identity has not been stolen. There are a few ways to get your credit report. One way to get your credit report is to go to a web site that will allow you get one for free or for a small fee. Another way to get your credit report is to contact the three nationwide credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion; you are entitled to receive a report from each of these agencies once a year.