The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has released its list for 2013 of tips for consumers to stay safe during 2013. The list includes items you can use both online and in the physical world to protect your money and your identity information:
"1. Do your research. Whether it's a business you're looking to hire or a product you're looking to buy, take the time to do your research. Check out a business at bbb.org to see its BBB Business Review. For product information, go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
2. Keep your computer safe. Install anti-virus software on your computer and regularly check for software and operating system updates. Don't open attachments or click on links in emails unless the email has been scanned for viruses or is from someone you know or trust.
3. Get it in writing. Don't just take a business's word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings."
Tip #1 applies especially to prepaid cards. I would modify tip #2 to also include your mobile devices, smart phones and tablets, since they are computers too. Some more tips:
"5. Protect your identity. Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. Safely store all personal documents, such as your Social Security card, and look up your credit score at least once a year. Check your credit and debit card statements frequently.
6. Shop on trustworthy websites. Online shopping has increasingly become more popular, so before you provide any personal or banking information over the web, make sure you're using a trusted site. Look for the "s" in https:// in the URL for a secure site."
Read the entire list at the Boston BBB website.