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Your bank wants to help -- really!

     Overdraft charges and credit card late fees can be as infuriating as they are expensive, but there is a way to avoid those -- and  your bank will help.
     Sign up for automatic alerts to your cell phone or e-mail account that let you know your daily balance, when a credit card bill is coming due, and when your payments are posted.
     It helps keep those due dates from flying past unnoticed, and gives you a heads-up if there's a problem.
     You also can get alerts for recent transactions and unusual activity -- a healthy way to stop identity theft and fraud before it escalates.
     Banks will even send you a monthly statement electronically, so you can balance your checkbook while sitting in a doctor's waiting room.
     One caution: NEVER respond to an unexpected e-mail or message from the "bank" requesting your account number, Social Security number or other identifying information. If the sender is really your bank, it already has that information.

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