Identity theft is a serious crime with serious costs for victims. ID theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information - such as your Social Security Number, credit card or account numbers, passwords, among others - to defraud or commit crimes. Victims of identity theft may lose significant money and time, and may find their reputation and credit rating has been damaged, affecting the ability to obtain loans for education or housing, approval for rental agreements, and approval for credit cards or large purchases requiring credit.

The following guide, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Guide on Identity Theft for Victims and Consumers, is intended to educate consumers about the steps to take when identity theft is discovered, and how to protect personal information to prevent identity theft.