‘Tis the season to get scammed! With billions of dollars swirling around the internet, it's no surprise that credit card fraud would be on the rise.
One of the more unorthodox things I do is get credit card transaction notifications via email. On any amount greater than $0.00.
That's right, I get every last transaction.
Why do I do this? It started on a whim. I was thinking about how to build a do it yourself identify theft system and found this feature in my Chase Southwest card. You can set it to notify you for any transaction over $X – where you set the X. So I set it at zero. You hear all these stories of people getting ripped off in $5 and $10 amounts because they don't notice.
I thought that if I set it up like this, I'll know about fraudulent charges immediately and I can dispute the charges with the credit card company.
In a little revisionist history, I started saying I like to know when my credit card is being used… because after a while, I kind of did. The notifications happen near instantly too. By instantly, I mean I sometimes get the email before the server has come back to the table with my card. That's how fast the notification arrives.
So imagine my surprise when I get these two emails about charges I didn't know about!
Great! The system it's working!
It was the holidays, my wife and I share a credit card to maximize our rewards, and so it's possible she purchased from these vendors as gifts. Except they're not because my lovely wife is sitting right next to me and told me she never made these purchases. Fraud time!
I call up Chase, get transferred to their fraud department, and learn that these were made online from Pennsylvania. The call took all of 9 minutes because I didn't have to sift through a list of transactions trying to guess what is legitimate.
Added bonus? I'll be getting a card tomorrow via express mail because it's our daily use card (that's a term you have to use if you want next day delivery of a new card, otherwise it goes regular mail).
If your card offers it, you should sign up for transaction notifications. It sounds extreme until you realize you probably don't use your card as much as you think and it has the added bonus of reminding you of subscriptions you might not use all that often. Win-win.