This past Saturday I purchased some software over the Internet (yes, I actually *do* pay for my software..). As part of the transaction I elected to use my VISA card.
Once I had entered the credit card information and clicked “Submit” a curious screen came up purporting to be some kind of confirmation screen. Among other details that it wanted to collect were the last 4 digits of my social security number. Being a reasonably aware netizen I decided that this was too hokey for me and elected to cancel the transaction. I knew that it was *probably* legitimate, but quite frankly I was not feeling too comfortable giving out additional info like that for a simple $30 purchase. I finished the transaction using paypal instead.
Well, fast forward to yesterday (Thursday) and my wife calls me. She was trying to make a purchase for yet more greeting cards and the $5 transaction had been declined by the credit card company. I checked online and my account wouldn’t show up on it’s secured web site so I called Chase (my VISA card brand owner) and found that the decision to cancel out of the transaction had flagged my account 5 days later as a potential fraud risk. I spoke with the fraud rep and they cleared everything up and I was able to use the card to buy gas on the way home an hour or so later.
Checking my online status this morning finds that the account is still missing from the Chase web site. So I called them up and they tell me that the account likely won’t show up for a few more days due to it’s “fraud status”. They ever so kindly offered me a new card that I could use right away (preapproved for a whole $500!) that I could cancel once my other card was up and running. Not sure how they’d get it to me in any kind of relevant time frame.
Anyway, the lessons learned from this:
- If anyone asks for any amount of information regarding your credit card online, just give it to them
- If your card information is stolen online, apparently the thieves have nearly a week to use it
- As fast as the fraud alert is at being set on your account, it’s apparently just as fast at being removed.
This isn’t crippling, just annoying. I use the online credit card information regularly to verify that no weird purchases are being made and to confirm that expected purchases have been made successfully. It’s odd that it takes SO long for a fraud alert to be triggered and then, once that happens, the best tool at my disposal for reviewing and validating purchases is disabled.
Color me not impressed.