Credit card companies are increasing fraud searches

In light of an increase in major companies suffering data breaches, credit card companies appear to be stepping up their fraud alerts, as indicated in a new survey.

Of Americans who have received a fraud alert from their credit or debit card issuer, 68 percent said that they got at least one that was a false alarm, according to a recently conducted survey by More than half of the same group, 53 percent, said that all or most of the flagged purchases were legitimately made. 

The firm conducted the survey between April 30 and May 3, getting results from roughly 1,000 card holders. Of those polled, 38 percent said that there were contacted by their issuer at least once about fraud.

Despite the high number of false positives, people seem to be on board with the proactive nature of their banks.

"Most consumers we have spoken with seem to be okay with this trend," said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for "I think ultimately it could be a good thing, because it means that your bank is keeping a close eye out for you and may be more likely to notice when the bad guys really do strike.''

The increased level of awareness does make sense. More often than not, the banks and credit card issuers are the ones that absorb fraud costs, not the consumers, Schulz explained, so it's in their best interest to keep a watchful eye out for suspicious activity.

Schulz said that banks key in on people's spending patterns and then identify an atypical charge as fraud. Often, alerts happen when a purchase is considered strange due to the amount being unusually high or where the purchase being made doesn't line up with a cardholder's spending activity. Schulz recommends alerting your bank whenever you travel or before making unusual purchases.

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