Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

For those of you who choose to ditch the holiday crowds, and shop online, there is now a way to protect your identity while doing it. It's called a disposable credit card. It's a one-time number, assigned to you, that does not reveal any of your private information while online. American Express and Discover are two places you can get a disposable credit card.

There are a lot of other protections built in for online purchases but if you want to be extra cautious, this may be one way to do it. Here's how they work. Each shopper is assigned a unique set of random numbers linked to your credit card account. But these numbers are temporary and do not reveal any private information. Through American Express, the cards are only good for a one time purchase. At Discover, you can use them more than once, but only at the same on-line store. For most everyday consumers, it won't be a big item for them, unless they have a specific use in mind.

To sign up for a card, log onto www.americanexpress.com, and search under private payments. Or log onto www.discovercard.com, and search under desk shop virtual credit card. And one other note, if you do decide to buy with credit, you shouldn't charge more than you can pay off within two months.