Credit Card Fraud Alert - How to Detect and Avoid

Card FAQ

During the last 7 days, we were meeting with family and friends in get-together dinners, touching on the topics about vacation plans next year and my positive impact from credit card sign-up bonuses. Through the discussion, I learned that three households have experienced credit card frauds during the last three months.  All of them have only a few credit cards.  Most concerned of all, the impersonator managed to manufacture "fake" credit cards with their credit card numbers on them.

We have about 15 credit cards. So far, there have been no issue for us.  I want to write this post to share what I know and do.

  • They did not lose their credit cards.  Someone created a fake card with their credit card number, expiration date and other info on it.
  • All of these transactions happened in US.
  • The card impersonator made transaction in gas stations and Apple Stores, and failed on gas stations which require zip code input. Ultimately, the pattern alerted banks which contacted my relatives and friends.  The Apple Stores claimed that the buyers presented real credit cards.  I would think those "fake" credit cards have the impersonator's names instead of my friends' name on the cards, because Apple would have asked them for driver license for ID.  Zip code is not printed on the credit card.  We suspect the Apple products are to be re-sold.

Recommended Preventative Actions
  • Do not use credit cards in stores and restaurants including gas stations in seemingly-unsafe neighborhoods.  For example, motels in small towns.  Pay by cash.
  • Set up credit card alerts via text messaging or email for each credit card.  See following for my own setups accepting email alerts  This also illustrates the benefit of online credit card management.  The benefit of email alerts over text messaging is the convenience of easy reference later.  (Beside changing my account password every 6 months, I also enabled SSL/HTTPS and Google Authentication to protect my Gmail account further, as I rely on my Gmail account to receive alert emails.)


My email account probably receives at most a couple alerts weekly, except during international travel time.  The same settings need to be enabled for each of your Chase credit cards and Checking accounts.

American Express
  • Select "Fraud Alert"


I am not able to locate any fraud alert options.

In the case your credit card is really "stolen", which I had experienced 15 years ago twice in one year, no need to fret.  Contact credit card company immediately to report credit card fraud.  I even filed police report.  (Yes, some people can abuse this also. I have heard someone had an expensive dinner with friends, then reported credit card loss)  The credit card company may charge maximum $50 liability charge, I was told.  But I was never charged, once I showed full diligence to report the cases.  $50 may not be much to most people.  I just do not want to go through the credit card loss report process.

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