Credit card company texting to fight theft - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Credit card company texting to fight theft

MIAMI (WTVJ/NBC) - One credit card company is using text messages as the newest tool in fighting identity theft. Text alerts are sent when unusual activity is detected on customers' accounts.

Jackie Almendares is always on guard now. Someone ran up $60,000 on her credit card, and it was a nightmare to repair her credit. So she's happy to see that credit cards issued by USAA are coming with a new feature to stop fraud.

USAA will send a text message when there's an attempt to make a credit card purchase it thinks is suspicious.

"I like the idea. I do not have to be so worried about identity theft, which actually I am," Almendares said.

USAA said it's the first to offer this kind of tenting to protect you. They ask about the attempted purchase and you can respond to tell them if it's you using the card or not.

"This service will actually send a message to the member ask them if this is a valid transaction or potentially fraudulent and they can actually reply," USAA Vice President Tom Shaw said.

USAA said another great feature of this new texting system is if you are out at lunch or dinner with co-workers or friends and there is a problem, you can privately find out. The waiter or waitress doesn't tell you the card is not good.

"I actually get excited because any opportunity to protect your identity is a good opportunity for consumers," credit expert Elizabeth Karwowski said.

Karwowski said consumers need to take advantage of technology that can help protect their credit.

"They have the opportunity to respond to whether there is fraudulent activity going on with their card," she said.

Merchants like Philly Steak Sub Shop owner Kareli Mila said the new protection means she can focus more on her sandwiches than worrying about her business losing out from a fraudulent transaction.

"Definitely I'm going to get paid every time. You are not going to run with the risk of somebody who's not going to have money to pay," she said.

USAA said its credit card users are now able to sign up for the service.

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