Kindle Fees Trigger Fraud Alert On Visa Card

Considering the growing amount of credit card fraud, it’s not surprising that banks are becoming more and more vigilant about identifying suspicious transactions. It’s too bad they haven’t been as successful at filtering out false positives or promptly notifying customers, as James Fallows at The Atlantic recently discovered when he got his account frozen for sending files to his Kindle.

“Maybe Amazon and Visa should talk?” [The Atlantic]
(Photo: TheTruthAbout…)


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  1. juri squared says:

    Amazon might do well to use the Apple method of charging micropayments; they bundle 24 hours’ worth of purchases into one charge.

  2. mrsam says:

    From the perspective of the credit card company, just because these small charges are coming from Amazon does not necessarily mean that they must be automatically legit.

    Someone might’ve very well have opened an Amazon account and used a stolen credit card to make tiny charges as a means of validating the credit card number.

    Amazon might very well have their own internal controls designed to detect fraudulent activity, and Amazon might claim that they vet their sign-ups, and if a charge comes out of Amazon it means that it passed their anti-fraud check, but individual credit card issues are not obligated to just take Amazon’s word for it.

  3. Laura Northrup says:

    If you pay your credit card off in hundreds of $1 electronic bill pay installments, though, you’re all set.

  4. yaced says:

    typically the fraudsters like to run small auths or even charges through legit companies (especially common ones) to test out card numbers they get. I work for a credit card fraud department, and these dudes blow up Itunes and MobileMe. A large portion of the auths for those turn out to be fraudulent test auths. I’m sure those amazon ones are next.

  5. jaymec says:

    For anyone who wants to avoid this, you can purchase a gift card and attach it to your one click account on Amazon. That way the credit card only sees one (relatively) large purchase. On the plus side this also works to help keep a budget. That one-click is evil…

  6. BabyFirefly says:

    I wish Itunes also triggered fraud alerts on my visa.

    They stole $20 from me for a .99 cent app.

  7. Ephraim says:

    All this fraud and still they reject chip and pin. So, how long until the banks in the US actually really do something about fraud….. like actually really addressing it instead of passing it along as part of their interest rates?

    • jamar0303 says:

      @Ephraim: Out of curiosity, how exactly is the IC chip more secure than a mag-stripe? I mean, Japan, Korea, and loads of other countries have gone chip+pin (though in Japan swipe+sign is still available on request) so there must be something to it, but what?

    • petermv says:

      @Ephraim: Chip and Pin will not help for online transactions.

  8. outoftheblew says:

    I recently had my HSBC debit card start getting declined everywhere. Turns out, there was a hold on it because of a $320 ATM transaction I’d made a few days earlier. In talking with HSBC about why my card wasn’t working, they said their notes showed that they’d tried calling and left messages and sent emails and I hadn’t responded. Because no one had called me or left a message or emailed me (they did have my correct number and email on file).

    That’s great that their fraud detection is picking up false positives, but they seem to be slacking on the “letting the customer know so he/she can confirm or deny that it’s fraud” part.

  9. twophrasebark says:

    “You can get files converted for the Kindle for free, but it means manually transferring them via your computer. I thought it was worth the seventy-five cents to skip that phase.”

    Maybe. But I bet Fallows has used this feature hundreds of times and is too embarrassed to say “Yeah, I am rich and lazy. Sue me.”

  10. pixiegirl1 says:

    I tried to buy something on with my visa. It basically forced me to join visa’s cc verification in order to use it, I reluctantly did so and you apparently have to respond to a email they send you before you can use it. I didn’t know this because they didn’t tell you that when you “join” I kept on trying to make the purchase w/my visa which got rejected because I didn’t respond to the email visa sent me. I ended up using my amex to pay and then was called about 6-7 times by visa because they believe that my card was being used for fraudulent purchases. So basically they just prevented me from using their card and missed out on the fee for my purchase, awesome right?

    • FormerlyAnonymous says:

      @pixiegirl1: The Verified by Visa system is an absolute joke. I use it so rarely that I forget my password every single time. To reset it the site asks me a couple of pieces of information that are readily available to anyone that is interested in stealing money from me and bam, I’m allowed in. They don’t even make a phone call to attempt to verify identity.

      And Verified by Visa is a misnomer: In my case (w/ Chase), it’s “Verified by some guy in his apartment” (maybe) [] . The domain, / have slighty better whois information now, but it’s still suspicious as all hell.