Identity theft happens when one individual uses the personal identifying information of another person without permission. Often, perpetrators of identity theft fraudulently open credit card accounts, obtain loans, and even open accounts with service providers like utilities.; An identity thief with access to your personal information and knowledge of a credit card number that does belong to you can use that credit card to run up thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases.

All too often, victims of identity theft are (at least temporarily) stuck with substantial debts that do not belong to them and find that their credit has been decimated. Debt collectors begin calling (and that is often the victim’s first indication that he or she has been the victim of identity theft).; Sometimes, an identity thief will use stolen personal information to try to obtain benefits and tax refunds that rightfully belong to the victim.;

I suspect I am a victim of identity theft.; What should I do?