This essay is going to scare you. There is a better-than-average chance that, at some point in the last several years, your personal information was stolen. Not something small like a credit card account, but the good stuff, your Social Security number coupled with your birthdate.
In fairness to thieves, we have all made this very easy for them to do. You and I hand over this information every time we apply for credit or a loan, open a bank account, check our credit score (Hello, Equifax, old friend), or do any of the other filling-out-of-forms drudgery that goes along with the modern consumer-financial economy.