When checking my mail this morning, I saw an email from the American Express Account Security Group notifying me that I had received a suspect charge of $113.40. The card they were referring to was my back-up American Express Blue Cash Everyday(SM) Card from American Express card that I haven’t used it in a while (I use my Costco TrueEarnings Amex card normally). Very concerned, I first checked my online American express account and saw a bright red notification to call the fraud security team so I knew the email was legitimate (fortunately the fake charge had not been applied). I still decided to play it extra safe and called the number on the back of my card rather than number in the email (reproduced below), in-case the email was a phishing scam.
After going through their phone menu, I got in touch with a friendly representative with whom I verified my identify. She quickly confirmed the charge had been submitted from some company in the Netherlands and that it had been picked up by their fraud detection system because it contained some red flags. My card had been suspended and once I had confirmed that this was an unauthorized charge, my current card was canceled and a new one would be sent to me. Apparently they see this kind of activity hundreds of times a day.
Fraud Protection Alert
Please call us at 1-800-824-9289
To protect our Card members, we regularly monitor accounts for possible fraudulent activity. On occasion, we contact our customers to verify certain charge attempts. Please review the charge attempt(s) referenced below. Please remember that some transactions, including those at gas stations, hotels and car rental merchants are pre-authorized before the final sale. The amount shown below may not reflect the exact amount of your final transaction.
If we have already reached you and discussed the charge attempts below, please disregard this email, as the concerns have already been resolved.
08/06/10 113.40 BIBIT INTERNET PAYMENTS
In order to verify that these charge attempts are legitimate, we ask that you please have your American Express® Card available and call the American Express Account Security Group as soon as possible at 1-800-824-9289. You may also call the number on the back of your Card and when prompted by our system, enter your 15 digit American Express Card number.
Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. Again, if we have already reached you regarding the charge attempts above, please disregard this email. No further action is required.
Thank you for your Card membership.
Account Security Group
While the whole experience was quite unnerving – this is the first time one of my credit cards has had an unauthorized charge; I was extremely impressed and grateful with their response and the fact that they did not even once question me about the authenticity of the charge. A lot of people complain that American express is more expensive or less accepted than Visa or MasterCard, but it is services and fraud protection like this that make me happy to be an American express card holder.