Like it or not, your credit card company is watching what you buy, where you buy it and just how much you spend on it.
One of the big reasons for this: sniffing out fraud.
In the wake of huge headline-grabbing breaches at Target, Michael’s and other retailers, banks are constantly on the lookout for purchases that might seem strange or out of character for a particular credit card holder. Oftentimes, they’ll call or text a cardholder if something looks unusual. They’ll even decline a purchase if it seems iffy.
But what exactly makes a purchase look sketchy?
Don’t know? Don’t feel bad. According to the latest CreditCards.com survey, many of your fellow cardholders don’t either.
Target. Michael’s. Neiman-Marcus. Heartbleed.
Pummeled by a nonstop barrage of stories about how shadowy fraudsters are working day and night to find new, mysterious ways to get access to all of your financial and online accounts, many Americans are worried — and feeling completely powerless — when it comes to identity theft.
But here’s the good news: You have far more power in these cases than you realize, and you don’t have to be a hacker to wield it.
Here are five simple things that you can do right now and going forward that can help protect you when the next major breach hits the headlines.
While the theft of sensitive consumer information is never a good thing, some situations may be more manageable for consumers than others, one of which is the most security breach involving the nation’s largest arts and craft store chain, Michaels Stores Inc.
When news of the Target data breach started hitting the headlines in December, I started watching my credit card statement like a hawk.
I was lucky, and surprised, to find I’d come out unscathed (at least so far). Then talk of the security provided by chip-enabled credit cards started making the news, and I chalked up my good fortune to the fact I’d switched last year to a chip-enabled card to ease my European travels. I figured that must have saved me from a world of hurt.
The next surprise came from learning that despite all the hoopla over chip-enabled cards, these kinds of cards currently do nothing to help consumers in cases like this.
Target and Neiman Marcus’ decision to pay for a year of free credit monitoring for recent shoppers has thrown a bright spotlight on a service that typically gets mixed reviews from consumer advocates.