Consumer Payment Card News

Fraud Fighters

The “Information Age” may facilitate fraud but it can also fight fraud. Consumers now have new tools to combat credit card and identity fraud. Some leading issuers, such as MBNA, now offer cardholders the ability to monitor individual transaction authorizations via the Internet. Other issuers, such as Bank One/First USA, only provide Internet access to individual transaction data after the charge has been posted. The time delay between authorization and posting data can make the difference in catching a crook or least minimzing the amount of damage from fraudulent transactions. Not long ago, credit cardholders had to rely on mailed, monthly statements to review transaction data. Today, some cardholders have the ability to monitor their credit card accounts in near real-time. When it comes to identity fraud, the same is true. Equifax has introduced its new Credit Watch service which enables consumers to monitor their credit files on a daily basis. The service alerts consumers, within 24 hours, via e-mail, to any significant new entries on their Equifax credit file, such as new account inquiries or updates reflecting late payments. In addition, Equifax Credit Watch provides six personal credit profiles; access to a consumer hotline in the event changes in their Equifax Credit Profile reveal potentially fraudulent activities; and the ability to initiate a review of their credit file via e-mail. A recent study by the California Public Interest Research Group and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse showed the average victim of identity theft did not learn about it until 14 months after the theft occurred. It then took the victim many months to fully resolve the problems caused directly by the identity theft. For more information on the Equifax Credit Watch service visit http://www.equifax.com.

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