Just because your personal information is stolen doesn't mean you have to become a victim.
But you do have to act fast.
12 On Your Side's Ryan Duffy shows you how to protect yourself.
Most times when someone's personal information is stolen, they don't have any idea.
But when you do know, you have a chance to get out ahead of any identity thieves.
This is what the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer watchdog agency, recommends.
The first step is to put an alert on your credit reports.
Make the toll free to call to one of the three credit agencies: Experian, Equifax or Transunion. You only have to call one; that agency is then required to alert the other two.
When you do the alert you also get free credit reports.
Step two: close any accounts you think might have been opened fraudulently or tampered with.
When you close an account make sure to get a letter of confirmation.
Step three: file a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
Finally, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the South Carolina or Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Hotline: (877) 382-4357
GA Office of Consumer Affairs: (404) 821-2370 or (800) 869-1123
SC Office of Consumer Affairs: (803) 734-4200 or (800) 922-1594
For a step-by-step guide to avoiding identity theft, click here.