It was just an ordinary Wednesday when my pizza cravings kicked in and I decided to hook up with a friend for happy hour margaritas and as many half-priced flatbread pizzas as we could consume from 4 to 7 pm.

When we were ready to leave, I left my credit card receipt on the counter after paying the bill and my friend rushed over and grabbed it like she was diving for a fumbled football at the Super Bowl. Seriously, she looked crazy AF. But then she told me that a friend of hers had gotten her identity stolen from doing stuff like that. It's tough enough to save money in college without having to worry about this.

I thought she was exaggerating, but a quick Google search of "pizza college identity theft" led me to a number of articles that confirmed what my friend told me. One even listed

"51 Proven Ways to Prevent College Identity Theft" that I'd never even thought about.

For example, when you pay for a meal at a restaurant, the waiter will often take the credit card to the back of the store to run it through the credit card processing machine. With you and your credit card out of sight, they could easily jot down your credit card or debit card number and that security code on the back—or worse, snap pics with their phones while they are back there. Some people have fallen victim to fraud in this way.

But fear not Spoonies, just follow these steps to prevent identity theft in college and beyond.

1. When In Doubt, Cash it Out

Only use your card with well-known, established restaurants and companies. If you are unsure about a small store or restaurant, use cash only.

2. Check Your Receipt Before You Retreat

Always make sure credit card receipts don’t have your full card number printed and dispose of them properly. A shredder would come in handy here.

3. Ignorance Isn't Bliss When It's Your Money You Miss 

Always check your monthly statements and keep track of your charges. If you see a charge you don’t know about, contact the company immediately. If fraud was involved, contact your credit card company or bank immediately to file a fraud report.

4. Be Proactive, It's Attractive

If you ever feel your card number has been stolen, don’t get upset. Just call the credit card company and request a new card and new number. In most cases, this is super easy and at no charge to you.

Armed with this info we can now return to the peace of mind that one should have when indulging in pizza.