Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to taking over the victims financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, securing a rental property, and establishing services with utility and phone companies. Your information may have been obtained via theft of your wallet/purse, mail, or personal data retrieved from your trash. Credit reports and personal information can be obtained by a thief posing as a landlord or employer. If you have been burglarized, personal information may have been taken. Personal information can also be bought from "inside sources" via the internet. At restaurants do not leave credit card receipts on the table, hand them directly to a business employee.