Protecting yourself

AAA alerts me to stolen credit card

Jeremy Simon

Over the weekend, AAA told me that my credit card had been stolen.

Getting an e-mail from AAA — primarily known for roadside assistance, travel information and membership discounts — about my credit in itself wasn’t unusual. That’s because back in 2009, I signed up for the free credit monitoring provided through my membership with the Texas chapter of the automobile association.

As part of that monitoring, I receive monthly e-mails alerting me to any changes in my credit report. Typically, those e-mails indicate all is well. “Your Experian credit report has been safely monitored on a daily basis. No activity has been reported in the previous calendar month,” they say. And I breathe a sigh of relief.

But this weekend, AAA’s message included the following exclamation:

“Your credit report has changed!” the e-mail read. “This email alert is to notify you that a change has been posted to your Experian credit report file.”

I clicked through AAA’s e-mail to the CreditCheck Select page on its website and logged in. Under the “Potentially Negative Information” header, I saw a notation that my Charles Schwab card (administered by FIA Card Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America) had been reported “lost/stolen” on Jan. 21, 2011. So I called the bank.

Yes, the bank representative said, my credit card had been reported stolen. Apparently, I was among a large number of Schwab cardholders who had their accounts potentially compromised due to transactions involving a certain merchant. When I asked him to identify the merchant, the representative said he didn’t have that information.

Why hadn’t the bank contacted me about the possible theft of my card information? According to the representative, due to the large number of impacted accounts, the bank was simply canceling existing credit cards and mailing new plastic to the affected cardholders. I could expect my new card to arrive over the next day or two, he said. My most recent transactions had been approved, he said, but I shouldn’t continue using the existing card.

So while I wait for my new credit card to arrive, I’ll think good thoughts about AAA — and add to my growing list of questions surrounding Schwab’s customer service.

See related: Icelandic travel paid for with credit card, kronur, Put your credit report on ice with a credit freeze

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  • A Bad Credit Car Loan

    If someone wants to sign up for AAA credit monitoring, where and how do they do it. Do they need to have AAA car insurance or can they get the credit monitoring service exclusively?

  • Jeremy, I’m a spokesperson for Charles Schwab and wanted to make sure you were aware that Charles Schwab Bank no longer sponsors any credit cards. On Oct. 1, 2010, FIA Card Services became the sole sponsor of both the Schwab Bank Invest First Visa card and the Visa credit card with WorldPoints rewards.

  • Jody Farmer

    Love this post, Jeremy. I think most people have this notion that AAA is an antiquated, outdated towing service for their grandparents. But it’s just about the best $52 I spend every year. I save 3x that in hotel discounts alone. Stack the ID monitoring and other features and it’s a great deal.

  • Andre

    Hi Jeremy,
    I recently faced a similar issue:- My AAA monitoring reported that my Bank of America card was reported lost/stolen on 24 Feb 2011. When I called the bank, they said that someone called in and reported it stolen (which I found it hard to believe , since it was in my wallet the whole time).
    My gut feeling is that my card was compromised by the bank/card provider/bank partners so they issued me a new card without informing me. Not very re-assuring!

  • Thanks for all the comments.
    @ Bad Credit Card Loan — If you’re a AAA member, you should be able to sign up. No AAA car insurance needed: