You know those credit cards in your wallet can be troublesome if you don’t exercise self-control. But they can also be ripe for picking.

According to new research by The Aite Group and ACI Worldwide, 47 percent of U.S. consumers have suffered credit card fraud over the past five years.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Be proactive.

Opt-in for account alerts and your bank will notify you of suspicious activity. “Make sure your contact information is up to date. This ensures your card company or bank is able to reach you quickly in case of suspected fraud,” says Michael Cunningham, managing director of Chase Fraud Operations in Tempe, Arizona.

Sign up to access your credit and debit card statements online instead of in the mail, monitor every few days and more frequently during busy shopping seasons.

  • Check your credit score frequently.

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Go to for a free credit report. If by chance your report doesn’t contain your credit score, you can get your free score at any time.

  • Handle your info carefully.

Shred all paperwork you don’t plan to keep that has personal information.

John Rampton, founder of, a free digital wallet that lets you make and accept payments online, shares his story, “I made the mistake of just ripping up an old statement that had my address, telephone number and birth date on it, and fraudsters used it to take out a credit card in my name.”