No one wants to be a victim of identity theft.  But, in a world where more of us spend using credit cards, debit cards or online, identity theft is running rampant.

If your identity is compromised, here are some things you can do to minimize the damage:

Determine what information was stolen

Was it a password and your email address?  Or something more sensitive like name and social security number?  The company that was breached should be able to tell you what information was compromised.

Use a credit monitoring service

When someone’s security has been breached, they usually offer this service to those affected.

Place a freeze on credit accounts

This will prevent a thief from getting access to the victim’s credit records.  Note that there may be a fee for this service.  At a minimum, you should put a fraud alert on your credit report.  You can do this by contacting the three major credit bureaus.  There is no charge to put a fraud alert on your report.

Reset passwords on online accounts

This includes financial sites, email accounts, social media accounts and anywhere that may have your credit card or bank information.  Ideally, each account will have a different password.  The best passwords are a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.  Consider using a password manager or app.

Use a multi-factor authentication, if available

More and more websites are offering the multi-factor authentication option.  This type of option will send a security code to a mobile phone, which needs to be entered in addition to the user name and password.

For more information on identity theft, visit

Tony LaNasa, CPA/CFE