[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GGDKL7TVPo]Today’s world is more connected than ever. While this is generally a good thing, it also increases the likelihood that your personal information can end up in someone else’s hands, which can lead to identity theft.

The first signs of identity theft can be subtle, or they can be blatantly obvious. You may notice an unfamiliar charge on your statement, or a business may not accept a check that you write. Even worse, a debt collector may call you about a bill that isn’t yours.

Identity theft can happen to anyone. If it happens to you, it is important to remember to stay calm. Then visit identitytheft.gov to report it and receive a personal recovery plan. This government website, sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission, helps you create a report that you can use to prove to businesses that someone stole your identity, making it easier to fix problems caused by this theft.

Identitytheft.gov guides you through each stage of the recovery process, including the following tasks:

  1. Generate necessary letters and forms
  2. Track your progress
  3. Keep detailed records of people you’ve talked to

It is important not to panic if your identity is stolen. Whether it be a stolen social security number, data breach, or a stolen password — regardless of the severity of your situation, recovery is easier with a plan.