Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) said in a news conference Tuesday that identity theft is on the rise citywide, but there are simple steps to avoid scammers.

The Manhattan district attorney's office handles 200 to 300 ID-theft cases a month, and the load is increasing, Garodnick said.

He gave several pointers to help avoid ID theft:

Be wary of email from strangers

Shop with trusted merchants

Don't use public computers or unsecured wireless connections for transactions

Use secure website browsers and URLs that begin with "https://"

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Pay by credit card rather than debit

Keep a paper trail

Wipe your computer's hard drive before recycling it.

-- amNewYork