Identity theft is a crime where the criminal uses personally identifying information such as a credit card number or Social Security number to assume someone else’s identity to commit fraud or other crimes. Often the victim is left with bills for items not purchased, poor credit records, and sometimes arrests for crimes committed by someone else. It can take months of work and thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused by identity theft.
If your personal identifying information has been compromised but not yet misused, you should watch for signs of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a page called Detect Identity Theft that is helpful. The Kentucky Attorney General also has a useful page.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, that is, if your identity information has been used fraudulently, there are things you can do to protect yourself from further damage. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state’s attorney general suggests that you: