Get a better understanding of how credit cards work, including how to manage credit cards, in this free lesson.

Tips for protecting your credit cards

Protect your credit cards and account numbers to prevent unauthorized use by taking these steps:

  • Don't give your card number over the phone unless you have initiated the call. Make sure you're giving it to a reputable company or organization.
  • Never lend your credit card to anyone.
  • Never give your credit card number to someone for a purpose you do not understand.
  • Keep a record—in a safe place separate from your cards—of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the phone numbers of each issuer. This will enable you to report a loss quickly.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you have, and cancel any inactive accounts. Carry only the cards you think you'll use.
  • If carbon paper is used, make sure you get the carbon or that it gets destroyed.
  • When you sign a sales slip, draw a line through any blank spaces above the Total line to keep other charges from being added.
  • Keep your receipts to check charges when your bill arrives. You have a right to question any unfamiliar charges.
  • Never leave your credit card in a purse or wallet that is unattended or in open view in a vehicle, even if the vehicle is locked.
  • Before throwing them away, shred any documents and receipts that show your credit card number.
  • Shred any offers of pre-approved credit cards before throwing them away.
  • If you don't receive your credit card statement on time, notify the company immediately.