Identity theft and data breaches increased in 2010

Identity theft is a looming threat for many consumers in America, to the fact that if a crook gets a hold of your personal financial information they can do serious damage to your finances.

The Identity Theft Resource Center found that there were 662 data breaches in 2010. This is a 33 percent rise from 2009, according to MSNBC.

The ITRC says a breach is when an individual's name, Social Security number, driver's license number, financial records, such as credit and debit card numbers are in danger. The use of malware was one of the most common ways criminals stole personal information from companies, accounting for 17.1 percent, according to the source.

Criminals can use your personal data and credit card information to make large purchases, which can negatively impact your credit score. If you fall victim of identity theft, you have the right to dispute the errors and fix your credit.

You can visit a credit repair company to get assistance with credit repair. Lenders look at your credit score to determine if you should be approved for a loan, so it is important for you to have a high score.