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It seems like an innocent throwback, but "those are riskiest kinds of transactions," warns May, because you have no idea what happens to your credit card number afterward.If a salesperson hauls out the old-school imprint machine, it's best to go get some cash. If you don't plan on keeping your receipt, don't ask for it."It's better to not have it than throw it in the trash," points out Petersen -- not only because it's not secure, but because it's a waste.

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If something is off, your credit card receipt gives you the ammo to dispute the charge with your credit card company. "By far the best reason for archiving receipts is in case of an IRS audit," says Jake Brereton, marketing manager for Shoeboxed, a company that digitizes customers' receipts.

But it's also helpful in case you need it to use a warranty, get a refund challenge a charge or (duh! With Shoeboxed, you mail in an envelope of receipts and wait for them to be added to your cloud-based archive; basic service starts at $10 a month.

In an ideal world, a cashier should compare the signature on your receipt to the one on the back of your credit card.

However, that rarely happens these days, and certainly no one at the bank is scrutinizing electronic signatures.

To do it yourself, file receipts for a year or two, then shred. Remember those clunky machines that cashiers once used to make an imprint of your credit card?

Occasionally you still see them (or hand-written receipts) when small businesses lack the infrastructure to process your credit payment electronically.

That's because the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act -- an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that took effect in 2006 -- legislated that for better financial security, only the last four or five digits of your card number can appear. Scam artists who get their hands on even part of your card number can use it to phish for the whole number by posing as your credit card issuer or utility company over the phone.

That's why you see something like XXX-XXXX-1234 instead. "Your card company will never call you and ask you to give them your whole card number," May says.

For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers.

Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

"A good rule of thumb is to hang up and call them back at a number you know is theirs." Receipt numbers aren't just gobbledygook.

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