After a recent scare of losing multiple credit cards, I've done a lot of research on ID theft. I sat witht he credit card 1-800 numbers ready to call and cancel if need be. A couple of years ago I had a coworker who had his wallet stolen from his gym. He didn't worry about it until his next credit card bill which was maxed out all on charges that happened within 24 hours after his wallet was stolen. It took him months to get the charges erased, and the authorities never caught the guy. It made me think twice about bringing my wallet into the gym. Then again, how many other places do you leave private information or credit cards in vulnerable spots.
Check out this government website about ID theft first. It's pretty amazing how fast someone can destroy your credit and take over your life. This NY Times article discusses how easy it is for people motivated. The one problem I have witht he NY Times article is that it links the crime in question to the scare drug of the moment, meth. It's scary, and now that I can get my credit report record for free, I will check it out to make sure I am clear of any fake charges.