There's nothing quite like getting your hands on your brand new house keys after months of researching neighborhoods, scouring online listings, and visiting properties with your real estate agent. When caught up in all the excitement, it can be very easy to lose track of the stacks upon stacks of paperwork involved in the process — some of which may contain sensitive information relating to your identity or finances.

Be vigilant about protecting yourself with these precautionary measures:

Freeze Your Credit Report

Freeze your credit report directly through the three major credit reporting bureaus, or through an identity protection service. Freezing your credit report means that no one will be able to access your credit report without your approval. Consequently, no one will be able to open new credit accounts under your name, or even check your credit report unless you give them direct and explicit permission to do so.

It is advised to freeze your credit report before purchasing a home. Even if you aren't concerned about identity theft, this also protects your credit report from any dramatic changes that could potentially lower your credit score and cause your loan qualification to fall through.

Work Directly with Reputable Companies

It's a great idea to shop around for a mortgage to find the best service and the best rates. But shopping around can also be dangerous if you aren't working directly with reputable mortgage lenders. Many third-party companies submit your application to several, if not dozens, of mortgage companies in an attempt to find the best rate. While some of these third-party companies may be reputable, if one of them experiences a data breach, your data may become compromised without you even realizing it.

Avoid Shared Computers or Mobile Devices

Throughout the process of purchasing a home, you'll undoubtedly end up verifying your banking information, applying for loans, and checking your credit report multiple times. When you do this, make sure you are not using a shared computer or mobile device. In addition, protect your computer and smartphone with a password. According to CNBC, 34 percent of smartphone owners don't apply a password to their device. If you're among this crowd, your personal information may be vulnerable if your device winds up in the wrong hands.

Additionally, avoid accessing your personal information online when using a public Wi-Fi network. If you must work from an untrusted public network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which will encrypt your actions and communication, and keep it safe from prying eyes.

If you do find that you have become a victim of identity theft, all is not lost. If you have an identity protection service, your issue could be resolved quickly. If you don't, it may be time to invest in one.

Remember: Any time you complete a major financial transaction, you increase your exposure to potential fraud. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and all of your sensitive data so that you can move into your new home, relax, and rest assured that your identity is secure.