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Better Business Bureau issues identity theft tips

Even if your credit cards stay safely tucked in your wallet, they can still put you at risk of identity theft.

In the last several months, card holders for major retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and JCPenney have had their personal information compromised because of hackers and misplaced computer files.

To protect yourself, keep a close eye on your credit and debit card statements. If you notice suspicious charges, follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau:

-- Contact the issuer as soon as possible. You will likely be liable for little to none of the unauthorized charges.

-- Contact the authorities. The police report will confirm fraudulent charges with the card issuer and credit bureaus. You can file a complaint with the FTC at www.consumer.gov/sentinel.

-- Contact credit bureaus. They can flag or freeze your account.

-- Stay vigilant. Follow up phone call to card issuers and credit bureaus with letters outlining the situation and keep copies of all correspondence. Continue to check your statements and credit reports.

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