Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Ask Sid

Disposing of That Old Credit Card

It's not enough to cut an old credit card in half, demagnetize it too

Q. What's the best way to destroy an old credit card to prevent identity theft?

A. Not a simple cut-in-half and toss. A trash-sifting identity thief can piece things together to get a usable card, or at least name, account number, signature and security code. That can be enough to charge something in your name or call the card's issuer, pretending to be you, and ask for a replacement.

So whether you have an expired card for an existing account or a card received but never requested, disable the magnetic strip by cutting it lengthwise or running a magnet along it. Then cut the card into small pieces to make all the above-mentioned info unreadable. For maximum protection, discard different pieces on successive trash pickup days.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues. Have a question for Sid Kirchheimer about a new product, a new kind of bank account? Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points