How to Stop Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud – Why You Should Lower your Cards Transaction Alert Threshold

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I wrote an article on credit card fraud last year during the holiday shopping season, after I had become a victim of on-line credit card fraud.  The article focused on minimizing your exposure to fraud.  Everyday there seems to be some new article, or story discussing a new credit card scam.  

I thought revisiting this topic again would be timely.

(Read the previous article, Online Fraud and Your Checking Account.)

In the previous article I recommended contacting your credit card company to determine if they provide “threshold” transaction alerts on charges made to your credit card. 

A threshold alert is when your card company emails you of new transactions charged to your card that are greater than the specific dollar value you specify.  Most will provide the ability for you to set that threshold limit, whether it be $10, $100, or $500. 

Consider lowering the threshold alert value on your credit card.  Why?

Because individuals involved in credit card fraud have nothing better to do on a day to day basis, they can get pretty creative about how to steal your money.  (I always envision these individuals sitting in their basement in front of their computer with a year’s supply of Hot Pockets, a bag of Cheetos and a case of Mountain Dew Kickstart just thinking about ways to screw someone over). 

These individuals understand that if they charge a $1000 item to your card it will show up like fireworcredit card fraudks on the fourth of July.  So their practice of fraud looks something like this.

  1. Purchase an online item for $10 – if the transaction goes through…
  2. Purchase another item for $100 – transaction processed!
  3. Charge another item for $250…

If they are smart and not to greedy, they won’t continue to make charges to the same card over and over again, nor will they continually purchase from the same retailer over and over again – they know that it becomes more probable that they will get caught. 

Smaller charges like those above are not likely to get noticed by the card holder (at least not immediately) – the transactions blend in with all the other purchases on the card.

Part of being able to minimize your exposure to credit card fraud is being able to identify it as soon as it happens (don’t rely on your credit card company to do it for you).  A threshold alert on your credit card provides you with the ability to identify fraud related transactions as soon as they happen.

Since my little fraud episode took place last year, I changed my alert threshold from $500 to $10.  I now know each time a transaction is made to my card that is $10 or more.  Knowing that I can identify credit card fraud immediately gives me peace of mind.

If you are not sure what your transaction alert threshold is, contact your credit card company to find out what the current limit is set at.  Give yourself the peace of mind knowing you can stop fraud before it happens.

Have you experienced Credit Card fraud? Comment below. 

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Kevin is the owner of FTP and an author of the personal finance book series Filling The Pig. He uses his own past successes with debt, saving cash, investing and running his own home based businesses to teach others about Creating a Lifestyle of Opportunities.
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