7 ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud

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Credit card fraud is a high stakes game. Last year alone, it’s estimated that crooks stole $3.2 billion from credit card holders and companies. There are lots of things you can do to fend off the fraudsters, and they all pretty much stem from the classic poker player’s advice: Keep your cards close to the vest. To get more specific on ways to avoid credit card fraud, read on:

1. Review your statement
Open your credit card bills as soon as you get them and check for charges you don’t recognize. Saving all your credit card receipts will allow you to confirm that every charge is legit.

2. Shred your receipts
Once you’ve reconciled your receipts against your monthly bill, shred your receipts rather than just throwing them in the trash. Do it by hand or invest around $40 for a home office shredder.

3. Shred credit card applications
If you’ve already anted up for an electric shredder, this one won’t be hard. Before you throw them away, destroy any unwanted credit card applications that you get in the mail.

4. Charge with caution online
When shopping online, use your charge card only at secure sites and don’t gamble on sites you’re not familiar with. Never respond to emails that ask you to reveal your credit card number.

5. Watch for sleight of hand
Whenever possible, don’t let your credit card out of your sight when you use it, and get it back quickly.

6. Hold only the cards you need
It’s usually only necessary to carry one or two credit cards in your wallet. Unless you know you’re going to need them, keep your additional cards safely at home.

7. Know your numbers
If you are the victim of credit card theft, it’s important to be able to notify your credit card company quickly. In a safe place, keep a list of all your credit card numbers and expiration dates and the contact information for each issuer. Remember to keep it updated.

 

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