What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when thieves steal your personal information to take over or open new accounts, file fake tax returns, rent or buy properties, or do other criminal things in your name. It can occur because of a known breach, such as when your data is exposed along with that of thousands or millions of other consumers. Identity theft may also follow the pilfering of your personal information if mail is stolen out of your mailbox, you lose your wallet or a similar physical event.