It could happen within a matter of seconds, but could take you years to fix.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
Identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information by hacking into computers, rummaging through trash, stealing your mail or your wallet or purse.
Officials warn residents to be careful, with the holiday season approaching.
Officials say to monitor the balances of your financial accounts, look for unexplained charges or withdrawal's. Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts, but avoid using easily available information like your mothers maiden name, your birth date, or the last four digits of your social and to order a copy of your credit report.