This makes it nearly impossible for a thief to piece together your entire account number.
5. The recycling myth: It's not safer than trash
It's an unexplainable yet prevalent myth that recycling bins are somehow safer than trash bins for credit cards, statements and other sensitive documents, Stickley said. They are not. At a recycling center, materials pass through a conveyor belt, and employees pick through items to make sure only recyclable materials get through. Stickley said confidential information could easily be taken off the conveyor belt by someone who's looking for it.
If you want to recycle an item containing your account information, shred it first -- preferably with a crosscut shredder -- and follow the steps for bagging the pieces separately for maximum security.
6. Fire: The foolproof method
Of course, one way to completely eliminate any chance of credit card or identity theft is to incinerate all card-related documentation. Though it might not be the most Earth-friendly activity, credit cards can be melted down, and credit card statements, applications and blank checks from credit card companies can be burned.
"We use our bills for kindling. All our bills go into a bag right next to our fireplace," Stickley said.
With average identity fraud losses hovering around $5,000 per person, taking a minute to destroy your credit cards and sensitive documents is a no-brainer. It turns out that if you get creative with your methods, you can actually have some fun, too.
This article was reported by Cynthia J. Drake for CreditCards.com.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
RECENT ARTICLES ON IDENTITY THEFT
Tired of your wallet taking a beating at the grocery store? Here are some creative ways to save big on food costs.