Using your credit cards with a fraud alert on you credit report
Can I still use my credit cards if I file a fraud alert?
Often, stolen credit card or credit card numbers get lumped into the definition of identity theft, and people are advised to add a fraud alert to their credit file to protect them. That doesn’t help because your credit report isn’t involved when the thief uses it to make a purchase.
Your credit report is accessed only when you apply for new credit. Swiping your card through the reader at the point of sale simply enables the card information to be processed so that the transaction can be completed. It doesn’t send any information to Experian or the other credit reporting companies.
Credit card providers have their own fraud detection processes. They look for things that can indicate fraud, such as unusual purchasing patterns. Often, credit card providers will contact you when something triggers an alert in their system that
indicates a high fraud risk.
The credit card provider can then take appropriate action, which could include stopping the transaction or canceling the card and issuing a new account number.
Usually, that will put an end to the problem. Unlike true identity theft, when a person steals your identifying information to open new accounts, a credit card thief simply wants to make as many purchases as possible in a short period of time. They then will dispose of the card, making it difficult to catch them.
By stopping the transaction and issuing a new number, the credit card company stops the victimization.
If you notify the credit card company immediately upon detection, you can be held responsible for no more than $50, and in most instances the credit card provider waves that amount, as well. So there usually is little or no monetary loss to you. And, because it doesn’t involve your credit report, there is no damage to your credit history.
Thanks for asking.