Knowing how to protect your identity is one of the most important ways to ensure that your financial future is secure. Identity Theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Criminals and Hackers have a variety of methods through which they can easily take on another persons’ identity and destroy their financial standing and, even worse, take their money.

Here are some tell tale signs that your identity has been stolen or compromised:

1. Calls from Creditors: If you are called by any creditors trying to verify an account that you did not sign up for. Do not brush these calls off as a mistake. If the caller feels that any fraudulent activity has occurred, they will try to terminate the call as soon as possible as to avoid any liability.

2. Credit Cards: Criminals will apply for credit cards in your name and even have them shipped to your address. In the meantime, they will try to get the card number before you receive the card in the mail. You know what happens next. Oh yeah…guess what… You’ll be hounded for a very long time for the money.

3. Your Accounts: The worst call you can receive is from your bank or creditors. If you get this call, pay very close attention to the details. They will have various details to help you uncover what pieces of information have been compromised. This will help in figuring out how your identity was stolen.

4. Unexpected Mail: There are times when you may receive pieces of mail for programs or accounts for which you have not signed up. Even worse was a letter I received confirming a shipment of goods to a Las Vegas hotel and the tracking number!! The best and only way to avoid becoming the victim and liable for the money is to call the accounts and cancel the orders and the services. You may have some trouble proving that you are who you say you are but all you have to do is say that this is a fraudulent activity and they will get you to the correct people who can help shut the account.

5. Check your Statements: Although the worst feeling in the world is receiving a call from your bank that someone is trying to be you, the most horrible experience occurs when you find charges on your accounts which you did not make. That means that the criminals broke in and stole your money. Every creditor and bank has time limits within which you have to report fraudulent activity to avoid responsibility. If you miss this window of opportunity then you are fully responsible for the loss.