(WMC TV) - The best advice on fighting identity theft often comes from a victim of identity theft.
"The thieves knew my personal information, contacted my credit card company and pretended to be me," said Christopher Hagler.
Identity thieves got credit cards in Hagler's name, along with 19 other victims.
"They tried to spend $250,000 on watches, jewelry, purses," said U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Shen.
"I was furious," Hagler said.
He learned a few things about shielding your information from identity thieves.
"Make sure you're not using your mother's maiden name, or any family, genealogical information in your passwords because a lot of that information is on the web, and thieves know how to find it," he said.
"Don't have too many credit cards," added Shen. "Check your statements."
"It's very unnerving to know that someone out there is pretending to be you," Hagler said. "It's chilling, actually."
Even more chilling is once you're a victim of identity theft just once, the odds improve that you will be a victim again, even multiple times.
Be vigilant. Guard your cards.
Also, consider 8-character passwords that mix numbers, letters, symbols and cases.