4 essential rules to protect your money

TULSA - Rule one: Buy a shredder, and use it.

Crooks who get a hold of bank statements, credit card offers and even other mail that seems unimportant, can do a lot of financial damage.

So experts say shred those items before trashing them.

Rule two: To protect yourself from basic internet scams, be suspicious of emails and change your passwords often.

Use different passwords for each account.

Three: Pay with a credit card.

That can help protect you if things go south on a transaction and there's a dispute with a merchant.

Plus, most credit cards provide some kind of purchase protection that in many cases is just as good as a warranty.

And four, and we can't stress this enough:

Always get any agreement in writing.

And be sure to read the fine print, especially on credit card agreements.

It's not just about the interest rate.

You want to look out for such terms as annual fee and blackout dates on rewards.

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