Credit Card Company Takes Seven Months To Notice You Moved To Illinois

Mike tells Consumerist that one of his recent purchases triggered a fraud alert on his credit card account. It’s nice to know that your card issuer is looking out for you, right? This alert was location-based, since he was using his card in Illinois, and the main billing address for the card is in Iowa, where Mike used to live. What he finds confusing about this situation is that he moved to Illinois seven months ago.

I logged onto my account to schedule a payment, it said “Account Restricted” and instructed me to call. I’m not the main account holder, so I contacted her (family) and we did a 3-way call. The CSR said it was a fraud alert and asked me if I authorized a $16 charge at Autozone yesterday. I just put a new washer pump in my car, yes. The CSR then asked if I’m traveling in Illinois. Here’s the punchline: I moved here last August. Seven months later, with that card being my sole source of transactional funds for seven months, they flag a purchase in Illinois as potentially fraudulent. Yes, the main account holder is still in Iowa, and the billing address is still in Iowa, but their algorithm looked past seven months of purchases and only identified a rather small one as potentially fraudulent. Does anybody know what else would trigger such a flag?

I don’t care to name the company in question. I like that they’re trying to stop fraud. I doubt that random idiocy from algorithms is all that uncommon with any issuer.

$1,600 worth of fuzzy dice at Autozone, we can see how that would trigger a fraud alert. But $16? Any banking or fraud experts out there want to tackle this?