Identity theft has become an American scourge — it's the number-one consumer complaint. Although always a problem, it has surged in recent years, largely due to electronic commerce. All a thief needs is your Social Security number, your address, your birth date, and a little family information to open credit cards in your name. Unfortunately, avoiding identity theft is not as easy as safeguarding your Social Security number — although it's essential to do so. Today, you need consciousness and diligence to protect your credit identity, credit history, and FICO score.