Are You Using Banking Alerts? If Not, It’s Time!

With scammers out to get your last time, if you’re not already using banking alerts, you should check with your bank for options.

I checked for banking alerts after a call from a number claiming to be my bank’s fraud department.

I use those alerts to notify me when there is a charge out of my accounts above a certain figure. In this case, I hadn’t received one.

The recorded voice sounded like the voice my bank’s actual automated system uses. I had every reason to think it was legitimate. But with the sheer number of false calls we receive these days, I wasn’t willing to trust it. So I hung up and called my bank directly.

It turns out the call was legitimate and it was my bank’s fraud center calling to see if I had made a purchase at an auto parts store in Virginia. I told them I hadn’t been to Virginia in years.

They assured me they had declined the purchase — in the amount of about $54 — because they suspected as much. That’s why I hadn’t received any banking alerts about any charges on my account.

Thieves want your money!

My bank’s fraud center explained that somewhere along the way, someone had gotten hold of my debit card number and created a duplicate card. I don’t begin to know how this works, but apparently, some less-than-honest employee pulled it off.

But thanks to the new fancy chips in credit cards these days, it’s getting more difficult for scammers to operate. Unable to duplicate the chip, they rely on a “swipe-only” card. At bank fraud centers these days, swiping a credit or debit card automatically raises a red flag.

In this case, the fraud center saw that a card with my number was being swiped rather than inserted into a chip reader, and something told them it wasn’t a legitimate purchase. They stopped the transactions in its tracks before I lost a dime.

I thanked them for their help and quick thinking.

Banking alerts would have been my second line of defense.

Credit cards are one thing: you get a statement every month and have a little more time to react if you see fraudulent activity on your account.

But with bank accounts, someone could drain your checking or savings accounts dry well before you know it if you wait for your monthly banking statements, and we don’t always have time to log in to our bank website every day.

In my case, I’ve set up banking alerts to let me know whenever there’s a charge to my checking account over a certain, low amount. If the fraudulent charge in Virginia had gone through, I’d have been alerted immediately. I could have then called the fraud center before they called me.

If a larger purchase had gone through, say $300 or so, that could have impacted how much money I had in my account for my bills and payments. If I didn’t know about it right away, it could have led to overdraft charges!

Whenever I make a purchase, I receive the alert about the debit within about two minutes of using the card.

These alerts allow me to stay in control and always be aware.

If you aren’t using them, I recommend you check with your bank and see what your options are! It’s well worth it!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.