Keep an eye on your credit card account—and catch potential fraud faster—with email or text message alerts.
The widespread adoption of the EMV chip card in the United States means credit card holders are less likely to have credit cards or numbers stolen. But now, the theft concern is personal identities—and fraudulent credit card use. The chip and pin system is designed to prevent in-store or point-of-sale fraud that magnetic strips can’t prevent. Increasingly, credit card fraud now happens when thieves access personal accounts and make purchases impersonating card holders.
To help prevent this type of “account takeover” credit card fraud, credit card companies offer free text or email alerts, so you can be notified of suspicious account activity on your phone or by email. Here are reasons (and benefits) to sign up for message alerts:
Reason 1: Be notified about card transactions or statuses immediately
Signing up for message alerts ensures you’ll be notified after a transaction or change has occurred that you’d like to be notified about. For example, you can set alerts for when purchases have been made over a certain dollar amount or in a foreign country, before your payment is due, or when you’re approaching your credit limit. Alerts are sent in real time, so you’ll know when a transaction or change has happened immediately.
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Reason 2: Manage your account from anywhere
Not only can alerts update you of activity on your account, they can also help you check personal account information easily on the go. Not by your computer or laptop? You can easily have alerts notify you of available credit balance, your most recent transactions, payment history, or get payment options right from your phone. Simply text certain commands to your credit card company’s number to receive a text reply with the information you need.
Reason 3: Know when personal information is updated
Another reason to sign up for alerts is to know when your account information has been changed. You can choose to receive an alert when your name has been changed on your account or when your PIN has been updated. You even can choose to receive an alert when your card is not present at the point of sale.
Beyond alerts: Shield your credit from identity theft
Signing up for message alerts is one of many steps you can take to help prevent credit card fraud. You can also take the following steps to protect you and your credit against identity theft.
Here are some other steps to keep your identity safe:
- Safeguard your credit cards just as you would cash
- Reduce the number of cards you carry daily—one or two are sufficient
- Minimize the amount of personal information a criminal can steal. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport with you
- Keep a list of all of your credit cards with their contact information in case of theft or loss
- Sign any new cards as soon as you receive them
- Call customer service if you do not receive your statement to ensure it was not mailed to a different address
- Never give anyone your card number over the telephone unless you initiated the call
- Shred anything that displays your credit card information before putting it in the trash
Remember, you should check your credit report regularly to reveal any suspicious activity on inactive accounts or new unauthorized accounts.
This information is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.