9 Ways to Avoid Online Scams

Researching companies upfront can keep consumers from getting snagged.

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Mix your credit card number. Card issuers are increasingly offering customers the ability to create a new credit card number for each online store where they shop. That way, if someone else gets hold of your card number and tries to use it elsewhere, it won't work. At Discover, for example, consumers can log on to their online account to create a unique, secure number for each merchant.

Change up your passwords. Consumers are tasked with remembering dozens of passwords for various retailers, banks, and accounts, making it almost impossible to remember them all, especially since they often include mixes of numbers and letters. Keep careful track of your passwords in a secure document, rely on mnemonic devices to boost your memory, or come up with some other clever strategy—but don't stick with simple passwords that are easy for strangers to guess. Also, change your passwords on a regular basis.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer