Hijacked eBay account: If you think you're eBay account has been hijacked and you can still log in to the site, you should change your password and make sure that any active bids and listings were put there by you or a family member. If you can't log in, try this link. If it doesn't work, here's a number you can call to report fraud. (It's not for routine help requests.) 866-961-9253
Identity theft: OK, someone has gotten their grubby hands on key parts of your identity; social security number, date of birth and so on. You may have given it away by mistakenly filling out a form on a poisoned Web site, or a hacker may have placed a key logger, software that records all of your key strokes, on your PC.
Obviously, you need to notify your bank and credit card companies immediately. If you do so, charges run up by the thieves are not your responsibility. But you also need to notify the major credit reporting agencies. Here's how you contact them: Equifax - www.equifax.com; Experian - www.experian.com; Trans Union - www.transunion.com.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a good deal of additional information on how to cope with identity theft. Among other tips, that group suggests that you do not call Experian, because: "You will be subject to a marketing pitch for their 'free' credit management tools. If you fail to cancel the service within 30 days, your credit card will automatically be charged for the service."
Remember, the Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to free credit reports once a year from each agency as well as free reports when you wish to place a fraud alert in your file.
Computer has a virus or a Trojan that has captured personal information: First update your anti-virus program with the latest definitions, and then run a full scan. If you use a password to access your computer, change it, then check your other accounts and be sure there hasn't been unauthorized activity. And for the next few months, be sure to go over your billing statements carefully to be sure all of the charges are really yours.
The absolute worst case: Reformat your hard drive, which will get rid of the malware once and for all, but will also wipe out your data and applications, so you'd better have an up-to-date backup on hand.