Credit Cards with Fraud Protection Features
Identity theft and banking fraud concern more and more Americans, according to a recent FICO survey. And that is not a surprise as credit card fraud continues to grow, especially online fraud.
There is no foolproof way to protect yourself from fraud, but there are a few things you can do. The first and foremost thing you should do is never ever give your credit or debit card information to someone you do not know. The second is you should watch where you shop. Never shop at a website that does not look legit. And the third is use the right card. Most credit cards have zero fraud liability feature. That means that you won’t pay if a fraudulent activity is detected. Your bank or a credit card issuer absorbs all the costs.
Credit card issuers constantly develop tools that help prevent fraud. Many issuers already offer fraud alerts that notify about suspicious activity and account log ins. Here are some other services to look for.
Social Security Number Alerts
The service is designed to help cardholders detect and resolve identity theft. Today, only one payment brand offers it to U.S. cardholders – Mastercard. They call their service ID Theft Alerts™. It scouts the Internet and if your credit card or debit card, Social Security Number, driver’s license or other sensitive data is detected being bought or sold online, it alerts you.
Discover launched Social Security Number monitoring service in July and recently added one more service – New Account Alerts. The first will alert cardholders if a Social Security Number is found on a risky website. And the second will keep an eye on a cardholder’s Experian® report and will notify if any new credit cards, mortgages, car loans or other accounts are opened.
Both services are free and cardholders can sign up or cancel them at any time.
Temporary Account Numbers
Several issuers offer a service that generates random card numbers which are impossible to steal. A temporary virtual account number can be used instead of the real card number when cardholders shop online or by mail order. The numbers may have spending limits and expiration dates. They are offered to Citi and Bank of America cardholders for example, but not for all cards. The service itself may sound inconvenient, but if you think about annoyance that comes with getting a replacement card with a new account number, you will appreciate it.
That is not something new. Citi and Discover has been offering this service for quite a long time. Quick lock or account freeze allows cardholders to lock their account temporarily while they search for the card. Since card replacement is not always free, takes time and generally quite a headache, this is especially useful when cardholders are not sure if the card is lost and they need time to look for it. The service blocks new purchases and cash advances, but allows automatic transactions (like bill payments), returns, and rewards redemptions. When the card is found, it can be unlocked right away.