Five Easy Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Worried about how to prevent identity theft? Try these simple tips

There are a number of very simple steps to prevent identity theft. We're all familiar with the idea of shredding documents and not falling for Internet scams by now, but there are some other easy ways to make sure that you're safe from fraud and cheats.

1. Debit cards are for debit machines

Some companies now allow you to use your debit card online. Guess what? If someone gets his hands on that information, you're completely unprotected (not to mention they now have access to your bank account). Debit cards can be a lot more dangerous, so you'll need to be even more careful. If possible, stick to credit cards with companies you trust.

2. Protect your receipts

An easy way to prevent identity theft is to take your receipts with you -- and that means putting them in your purse or wallet, not your shopping bag. Never refuse a receipt, especially from a credit card purchase, and don't throw them into public trashcans.

3. Keep your eyes on the card

Don't allow restaurant or store employees to walk off with your credit or debit card, and keep your eye on them when they scan it. There are small, handheld devices called skimmers that can read the information off your card and store it for later. Similarly, if someone claims that a transaction was refused and they need to rescan your card, ask for the original receipt indicating the refusal.

4. Watch your statements

In this day and age of Internet banking, many of us do not get paper bank statements anymore. That's good for identity theft purposes, but if you want to prevent identity theft you still need to check those statements online. Watch for suspicious transactions, especially small ones -- identity thieves will often make a few tiny initial charges to see if you notice before they start racking up the bucks.

5. Clean out your wallet

It's never worth carrying five credit cards and a debit card around with you. Limit yourself to one or two at the most, and keep them in a secure location.

Be safe and secure with your identity. And follow these 5 tips to prevent identity theft.

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