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2. Protect Yourself Against Fraud

You should save your credit card receipts. At the end of the month, compare your receipts to your statement. Once you have done this, you can destroy the receipts. Use caution when giving out your credit card number, especially over the phone. In addition to these precautions, be aware of where your cards are at all times. Never leave a store without your credit card.

If your credit cards are lost or stolen, there are a number of things that you must do, and you must do them quickly. First, you should call your credit card company immediately. You should have a photocopy all of your credit cards, front and back, and keep the toll-free numbers for your credit card company handy so that you can report any loss or theft. Put your credit card information in a safe place.

Second, you should immediately file a police report in the jurisdiction of the loss. This shows the credit card company that you are serious, that you are diligent, and that you are trying to find your credit card.

Third, you should call the three national credit reporting organizations and the Social Security Administration to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. The phone numbers for all four organizations are listed below:

Equifax:   800-525-6285
Experian:    888-397-3742
Social Security Administration fraud line: 800-269-0271


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