The federal trade commission estimates people and businesses have lost 53 billion dollars because of identity theft.
And once your identity is taken, it's very hard to get back.
If you know you've had your wallet or purse stolen, you should call local law enforcement and file a report, and make sure you get a copy of that report.
Next, contact the credit bureaus, either Experian, Equifax, or Transunion, and start the paper trail.
You'll need what's called a fraud affidavit, to send to creditors and debt collectors.
It's an online, printable form, that can be done in a few minutes.
And when you get your credit report, ask for your file to be flagged with a fraud alert, and in writing, extend that fraud alert for seven years, to protect yourself from future fraud.
The whole process can take months, or even years. To find out more about the process to go through, you can log onto one of these two websites: