How do you prevent credit card fraud when your credit card is stolen?
I was a victim of credit card fraud when my Chase Sapphire Preferred card was skimmed. But what if my whole wallet were stolen? I carry a good number of credit cards at a time. I’d have to (1) remember what cards I was carrying, (2) locate their phone numbers, and (3) spend time on hold with them.
When I travel extensively, I keep a list of credit cards I’m carrying in the hotel room, and carry the cards in different locations (keeping a spare or two in the hotel safe). But this only gets me so far, and doesn’t help in everyday situations. So what can help?
1. Credit Card Protection:
A few of the credit cards offer “wallet protection” for a small fee. I subscribe to the DiscoverMore Card wallet protection for a few dollars a month. It offers:
I just want to note that DiscoverCard just got in trouble for this service–not because they don’t provide what they offer but because they were accused of training their representatives to say the price really fast so it was disclosed but not actually heard. I can’t speak to this because I signed up online, but would not surprise me from other DiscoverCard services. I’ve just started saying “no” whenever they start saying anything else on the phone. But the actual services are good. I also use their monthly credit report and score service, because I’m type-A about my finances.
American Express also offers this service, but I have absolutely no experience with it.
2. Insurance Companies
Insurance companies offer identify protection and credit card fraud prevention add-on services. For example, Geico has a whole package for $6.99 a month that allows unlimited access to your transunion score and report, wallet protection in the case of a lost wallet, and a more detailed services than the credit card companies–they’ll notify police for you, the social security office, and pre-start an affidavit on your behalf to attest to what happened. This is cheaper and gives more than my DiscoverWalletProtection and if I were a Geico customer, I’d switch to it. (Adding the second half of a “couple” costs $1 more per month)
I just married into USAA, but I haven’t seen a comparable service with them.
Not all AAA regions off this as a free part of membership, but I’ve linked the details as a cached page. The reason I am using a cached page is because AAA’s website redirects you to the main front page of the website for your region when you click on links internal to another region (which is annoying)
Basically, you need to enroll but it is free. Once enrolled, you receive free wallet protection for lost credit cards.
As an additional note, I have all my cards on mint.com and check my transactions frequently to find odd behavior and potential credit card fraud. I research any charge I don’t recognize to make sure I actually purchased that item, and have a monthly “appointment” with myself to audit all my cards. I really recommend having some sort of system to sort through your finances, especially if you have multiple credit cards in this frequent flyer point world. Would you notice if that Club Carlson card in your drawer was suddenly used? If not, figure out a way to keep track!
I’ll note that I left LifeLock out of this post intentionally. I’ve heard too many odd things about it, and Experian is getting pretty miffed at them for putting fraud alerts on all their customers. Also, the owner challenged people to steal his identity on TV. What he never followed up to say is–the identity thefts succeeded.