Identity theft is more common than you may think. During 2012, the most recent year for which data has been released; there were nearly 13 million cases of identity theft in the U.S.

Millions of people subscribe to credit monitoring services, but if your personal information is compromised or one of your credit cards is stolen, thieves can do a lot of damage before you are alerted.

In this age of rising identity theft and credit card fraud, and more sophisticated criminals causing high-profile data breaches like the infamous Target incident, it is more important than ever to keep your identity from theft. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the credit you've worked so hard to build stays safe.