Don't Become a Victim: 9 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

How to protect yourself against identity theft.

Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate - Lowering your interest rate on your credit cards can be as easy as a nice demeanor and a phone call. If you have a $5,000 balance, even a 3 percent rate reduction saves you $150 a year. (Photo: Fuse/Getty Images)

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Fraud Watch - In a study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, the number of fraud victims has gradually increased within recent years, despite creditors' heightened security measures. It can take months or even years to rebuild your credit once it’s been compromised by thieves. Read on for nine helpful tips to protect you and minimize the chances of becoming a credit card fraud victim. By Dontaira Terrell (Photo: Fuse/Getty Images)

Tick, Tock - You have a tight deadline that needs to be met, but instead of working you?re doing everything else in order to avoid completing the inevitable. Regardless of how hard you try to zero in on the task at hand or wrap your mind around the current project that needs to be completed, it never fails ? procrastination always kicks in. Luckily, it's fairly easy to overcome, especially if you put your mind to it. Keep reading. By Dontaira Terrell   (Photo: Sean De Burca/Corbis)

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Monitor Accounts Regularly  - Regularly monitoring your financial statements can help you immediately identify and report wrongful action made to your accounts. Also, holding onto your receipts can help you compare transactions with your statements.  (Photo: Sean De Burca/Corbis)

Connect - As much as you want to help, she can gain a lot from meeting with people who have been where she is and made it through. With her permission, sign her up for a program that will pair her with a mentor who has already survived breast cancer. AfterBreastCancerDiagnosisSupport.org is a great place to start, and MyBCTeam.com is a social network that connects women who are currently living with breast cancer. (Photo: Kate Kunz/Corbis)

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Sign Up for Account Alerts - Enrolling in account alerts through your financial institution helps minimize the risk of fraudulent activity. They immediately notify you of sudden account charges, suspicious purchases or attempted transactions. (Photo: Kate Kunz/Corbis)

What Are They? - Prepaid debit cards are typically used by people who don't want, or can't qualify for a traditional banking account. Individuals add money to their prepaid cards, and because the cards are usually tied to payment networks like Visa, MasterCard or American Express, those people can use them for day-to-day spending. People also can have paychecks directly deposited to the cards, which allow money to be added over and over. In 2003, American consumers put less than $1 billion on prepaid cards. By 2012, that amount ballooned to $65 billion. By the end of 2014, the CFPB expects consumers to put nearly $100 billion on prepaid cards.   (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Carry Only What’s Necessary - Only carrying the cards that are necessary can reduce the damages if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Keep Your Accounts Secure - Who doesn’t enjoy a little online shopping every now and then? Once you’re done shopping, log out of your account. If you have a password associated with your account, make sure the strength of the password is strong. (Click here for some tips.) This helps minimize hackers' ability to access your credit card information. (Photo: moodboard/Corbis)

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A Lump - Ring the alarm if you feel a lump or other thickening in your breast tissue or under your arm. Typically, a cancer mass is painless, hard and has irregular edges, but there are types that feel round and soft and tender to the touch, so always get lumps checked out.   (Photo: Sharie Kennedy/LWA/Corbis)

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Be Cautious of Giving Out Personal Information - If you receive a call from an unidentified number asking for personal information, be sure to use your sound judgment and ask plenty of questions. This helps in verifying if the person you are speaking with is a legitimate representative from your banking institution. (Photo: Sharie Kennedy/LWA/Corbis)

Read Your Bank Statements - Review your paper statements or register with your bank online and check your digital statements every couple weeks to be sure there is no unusual activity. And if your bank offers a free service that lets you know when odd purchases pop up ? say a round of golf in the UK ? sign up for that, too. (Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis)

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Check Your Credit Report - Fraud can take place in many forms. As a result, you should take advantage of receiving your free annual credit report or credit score from one of the three major credit bureaus. Not only does it help you to better manage your personal finances, but it also serves as an early indicator of whether you have become a victim of credit card fraud. (Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis)

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Delete, Delete, Delete! - Immediately delete pre-approved email offers from your inbox. The more pre-approved offers laying around in your mailbox, the greater the risk of third parties gaining access to your personal information. (Photo: JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Corbis)

Finalize Your Receipts - Leaving the tip line blank is a big no-no! Always draw a line through it, especially if you don?t intend to leave a tip on your card. You don?t want to risk having miscellaneous charges unknowingly added. (Photo: RK Studio/Blend Images/Corbis)

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Finalize Your Receipts - Leaving the tip line blank is a big no-no! Always draw a line through it, especially if you don’t intend to leave a tip on your card. You don’t want to risk having miscellaneous charges unknowingly added. (Photo: RK Studio/Blend Images/Corbis)

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Always Fill Out a Change of Address Form - We all know the moving process can be stressful, but try not to allow simple tasks to slip through the cracks. This includes completing a change of address form from your local post office. The sooner the form is completed, the better! This alleviates the risk of new tenants getting a hold of confidential information. (Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/GettyImages)