Credit, Debit Card Fraud Alerts Up 15 Percent Since 2015

May 12, 2017         By: Mike Dautner

Credit and debit card fraud alerts are up 15 percent from two years ago, according to a devised CreditCards.com report.

31 percent of U.S. adults have received a fraud alert regarding a credit card and 25 percent have received one concerning a debit card.

In truth, 37 percent who have been contacted about potentially fraudulent transactions say all of the transactions were entirely legitimate purchases. In addition, another 15 percent say most were legitimate.

In contradiction of the ubiquity of text messages and emails, most fraud alerts are still delivered via phone calls. 53 percent who have received a fraud alert report the most recent alert was delivered by a call, followed by 15 percent who had their card declined at the POS. A meager 14 percent received a text as an alert and only 12 percent received an email.

The absence of texts is somewhat of a surprise, considering Visa and MasterCard branded cards are now required to let cardholders opt-in to receive alerts via text messages.

In a world where many 18-26 year-olds could not help but keep their phones glued to their hands, they are actually the least likely to receive fraud alerts by text.

The likelihood of receiving a fraud alert increases with income. 68 percent of those with annual household income of $75,000 or more have received one versus just 40 percent of those with income somewhere between $30,000-$49,999 and 26 percent with income under $30,000.

“Fraudsters seem to be swinging for the fences, focusing their efforts on high-value targets,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “And it’s not only more affluent and more educated households. Credit card limits typically exceed checking account balances. I think that’s why credit card fraud alerts outpace debit card alerts even though debit transactions outnumber credit transactions 2-to-1.”