Money Scam Image Gallery
Money Scam Image Gallery

Money Scam Image Gallery Clever villains don't just turn up in the movies. This undated picture shows John Palmer, a.k.a. "Goldfinger," who was arrested in 2007 for multiple crimes, including credit card fraud. See more money scam pictures.

Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe it happened when you threw away those old credit card statements. Maybe it happened when you left your debit card at the grocery store, even though the clerk gave it back when you returned to retrieve it. Or maybe it happened when you accessed your bank account at that coffee shop computer.

Whenever and however it happened, someone has gotten hold of your credit card number and used it to buy clothes, cigarettes and -- worst of all -- gasoline. You report the unauthorized transactions to your credit card company. Luckily, they don't stand for credit card fraud, and the transactions are taken off your account. They also cancel your card and issue a new one.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, financial institutions and merchants are always on the lookout for scam artists. But, as the saying goes, the most effective offense is a good defense. And, as that other saying goes, you are the first line of defense. The best thing you can do to avoid fraud is to know how fraudsters work and how to protect your money and personal information.

In this article, we'll take a look at some common sources of fraud, as well as a number of fraud prevention tips you can use to keep yourself safe from marauding scammers.