If your personal information is stolen, four steps to take

* Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is sufficient.
* Contact your bank or other financial institution(s) and close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
* File a police report with local law enforcement officials. This is an essential step for protecting your rights.
* Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail