Don't use a debit card
Want to avoid identity theft? Never, ever use a debit card. I don't own one. I never have and I never will. I don't recommend them to anyone — not my family, not my friends, not you.
As I said at the Google talk, a debit card is certainly and truly the worst financial tool ever given to the American consumer. Why? It's simple: Every time you use one, you put your money and your bank account at risk.
Instead, use a credit card.
I use one for practically all of my purchases, even when I'm traveling abroad. With credit cards, federal law limits my liability if there's an unauthorized use of my card.
When I use a credit card, I'm spending the credit card company's money every day until I pay my bill at the end of the month. Meanwhile, my money is earning interest in a bank account.
If there's a large data breach (and you know that there will be) and a criminal does somehow get my credit card number and charges $1 million on it, I'm protected and my credit card company will cancel the card and send a new one within the next couple of days.
I won't be responsible for any purchases made. If the same thing happens and the criminals get my debit card information, however, I could lose the money in my bank account and have a difficult and lengthy time recovering it.
Also, keep your check-writing to a minimum and be vigilant about examining your bank statements frequently.