Holidays are prime time for identity crime

Experts say identity theft can happen anytime of year, but it's more common around the holidays.

Earlier this year, Murrells Inlet resident Jonathan Cetera thought he was the only one claiming to be himself, but was caught by surprise one afternoon.

"I went through my bank statements and it said I bought something from, which I never have," Cetera said.

It was a $100 purchase, and after investigation, he says his bank determined someone had used his bank account information to make the purchase.

"It took about two weeks to get my money back," Cetera said.

But it wasn't just his bank account information that was compromised, his name was as well. Around the time the fraudulent purchase was made, he noticed his professional bodybuilding pages on social media sites had been shut down, and some had been duplicated.

"People made fake Instagrams of me, and I found about 10 fake profiles of me online," Cetera said.

Cetera said the process of fixing all of the information on all of the sites and showing them proof of identity was a nightmare.

"I had no idea what was going on, so I was like, 'Is someone trying to take my identity? Is someone trying to erase me?," Cetera said.

There are some steps you can take to prevent becoming an identity theft victim.

Fraud experts at say identity thieves are good at what they do, so they recommend making a different password for each site you need to log on to visit.

If you're doing online shopping this holiday season, make sure you're visiting credible websites and look out for advertisements that offer deals too good to be true. They could link back to sites filled with malware.

"Be careful with your bank statements, be careful who you approve, make everything private," Cetera said.

Click here for other tips on how to prevent identity theft.