How to Protect Yourself From Credit Fraud

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The Internet has made shopping more convenient, but identity theft is on the rise. So, how can you prevent your credit card number from being stolen, while continuing to enjoy the advantages of buying things online?

According to Javelin Strategy & Research credit card fraud has risen 87 percent since 2010, resulting in a total loss of $6 billion. Jim Van Dyke, Javelin's president and founder tells NBC News that this is because criminals are rapidly changing their identity theft methods.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself, though. First, use a credit card as opposed to a debit card. While the Internet may be a place from which to steal your identity, using a credit card can protect you in the long run. LearnVest reports via Identity Theft Resource Center that "the safest way to shop on the Internet is with a credit card." If your card number is stolen, you are protected under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act, which limits your liability at $50. Meanwhile, debit card damages are capped by law at $500.

"Phishing" is still popular on the web, and now on your mobile phone, where you can be asked to "verify" your personal information for various reasons. Watch out for suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages asking for your account info, which legitimate institutions would never do.

Credit FraudFinally, invest in a shredder. Experian.com says that sifting through trash is still one of the most popular ways for criminals to obtain your personal information, so shred any document that includes any identifying information. It's a no-brainer.

The ease and convenience of online shopping shouldn't be hampered by those with criminal intentions, but it's important to take measures to protect yourself. That way you can shop and save, safely.
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