Fraud Alert False Alarms Interview with WCCO Radio Minnesota
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Thursday, May 21, 2015, with John Hines of WCCO Radio Minnesota about the results of the May 2015 Fraud Alert False Alarms survey. The interview and transcript are below.
John Hines: 7 out of 10 of us, almost 7 out 0f 10 of us, have received a credit card fraud alert that was false, that was incorrect. I guess I’m lucky because I’m in that 3 out of 10 that haven’t, but it’s kind of problematic and should be concerning because you don’t know what’s the legit one and if someone’s crying wolf or not. I’m joined this morning by Matt Schulz who is with CreditCards.com and they’re the ones who came out with this report. Matt, good morning. Thanks for joining me here on WCCO.
Matt Schulz: Yeah, thank you.
Hines: Why should we be concerned about this?
Schulz: Well, it’s really kind of an inconvenience and a nuisance, but honestly it can actually be a good thing because what it tells you is that the banks are keeping an eye out for you and it makes it much more likely for them to actually notice when the bad guys really do strike.
Hines: You know, I mentioned that I’m the 3 out of 10 who have never received a false fraud alert. I wonder if that is because I take the steps – something that I learned, I think, from CreditCards.com – is to actually notify my banks, the credit card companies that I’m going to be traveling to a different region or such.
Schulz: That is a big cure-all for this, and a lot of people don’t do it. All it takes is a phone call and even know they have tools online on a lot of these credit card issuer websites where you don’t even have to talk to anybody to do this.
Hines: You can just let them know ahead of time where you’re going to be and what credit card you’ll be using.
Schulz: Exactly, and also if you’re going to make a big purchase – like there’s been stories of people doing a home remodel and buying $5,000 of lumber at Home Depot and having that get blocked because it’s unusual for them.
Hines: Ah, again we’re back to – we were just talking about this in the last half hour, too – so much of this comes from the credit card companies watching basically once again on algorithms, right? They’re kind of tracking what’s normal, what’s activity, and what’s unusual.
Schulz: Yeah, it’s all about patterns. It’s about where you spend, it’s about how much you spend, and just anything that looks unusual will draw their eyes.
Hines: I noticed that in your report you broke it down into various groups – who’s more likely to have received a fraud alert and in this case we’re talking about false fraud alerts, but at least we know they’re being vigilant in this case. However, it can be an inconvenience if you get this false fraud alert and then you find out all of a sudden you’ve been denied access somewhere.
Schulz: What we found is that certain groups – whites, Republicans, college graduates, wealthier folks – are more likely to have received an alert. And I think a lot of that might just be that those are groups that might find themselves traveling more, and since travel is really one of the key triggers, I think that might go a long way to explaining some of those numbers.
Hines: But yeah, when you start to get out there and you find charges have been blocked or something, it becomes somewhat problematic. What do we do though if this becomes persistent? Help me out with that, Matt.
Schulz: It really is all about making that phone call and opening the lines of communication with the bank to let them know what you’re doing, and if you do that you’re much more likely to avoid having these fraud alerts.
Hines: This information to at CreditCards.com, is that where we can find this story?
Schulz: Yeah, we’ve got this and plenty of other helpful information at CreditCards.com for you.
Hines: Hey, well good stuff. I appreciate you joining me this morning here just for a couple of minutes on WCCO.
Schulz: Thanks, anytime.
Hines: Take care, Matt Schulz from CreditCards.com.