The trouble with Fraud Alerts

I love the fact that in the US, I feel safe that my credit cards are protected. When my number was stolen and $9,000 in charges were placed— Bank of America contacted me before I knew anything was wrong. I was not liable for any of the costs incurred. Fraud Alerts– YAY!

However, most days, I don’t feel that way about fraud alerts. Most days, I am frustrated with a frozen card, usually calling from overseas, to bed the bank to reinstate me. Most of the time, it is me that triggers the alerts.

Yesterday was one of those times.

Surprisingly, the alarm was triggered not because I am in Chile, but because I tried to withdraw from the ATM more than my allowed amount. I am allowed 400 USD per day. I tried to withdraw 200,000 Chilean pesos. I thought I was okay. In fact, that translated into 413 dollars. I was denied. Fine. I entered a lower Chilean peso amount, but Fraud Alert had frozen my account because of the attempt to withdraw 13 dollars too much. Needless to say, I went home penniless (and pesoless). I called Capital One, did the whole song and dance, and today was able to take out 180,000 Chilean pesos.

13 dollars!

The only thing that makes this seem less ridiculous is last year when fraud alert froze my Bank of America while I was trying to buy a plane ticket. When I called, they said, “you were making a type of purchase you don’t normally make”. I had spent nearly 14,000 the year before on plane fare. How is, on average, $1000 per month considered a type of purchase I don’t normally make?!?!?!

PS If you are in the US and use debit cards— please note you are not given the same fraud protections under the law as a credit card and you could be liable for fraudulent charges.


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