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How Amex Protects You Against Credit Card Fraud

American Express helps protect you from credit card fraud with its evolving fraud protection technology. Here are a few simple steps to keep you safe and alert.

By Megan Doyle | American Express Credit Intel Freelance Contributor

5 Min Read | October 28, 2020 in Cards

 

At-A-Glance

American Express offers several layers of fraud protection to help protect its Card Members from credit card fraud.

Card security, online account security, and the advanced analytics to evaluate thousands of data points on every transaction all work together to help prevent fraud.

Although American Express’ fraud protection solutions work behind the scenes to protect you from fraud around the clock, it’s also important for you to take proactive steps against credit card fraud, like signing up for fraud alerts.

Credit card fraud is increasingly common. Americans pay by credit card more and more, and fraudsters constantly evolve their schemes to steal personal information. But credit card fraud protection techniques are always improving too. American Express was an early developer of artificial intelligence expert systems for fraud detection,1 and has remained on the cutting-edge of fraud protection methods ever since. 

 

From basic account security to sophisticated machine learning models that analyze thousands of data points in real time, here’s a close look at how American Express fraud protection techniques work behind the scenes, 24/7/365, to help keep you safe and secure.

 

Fraud Protection is Built into Your Credit Card

Your American Express® Credit Card is encoded with personal information that’s connected to your Card account. This also means that your physical Credit Card must have several layers of fraud protection built into that slim rectangle that you slip right into your wallet. For example:

  • Chip technology. Your Credit Card’s chip is essentially an updated, more secure alternative to the magnetic strip on the back of the card. For each transaction, your chip creates a one-time-use encrypted code that’s used to instantly verify your account information. Because a new code is created every time you dip your card, it makes it impossible for a fraudster to make a counterfeit of your card.
  • Card identification number (CID). Your 4-digit CID adds another layer of security. Even if a fraudster gets hold of a credit card number, the card’s CID is required to authorize online and other “card-not-present” transactions.

 

Machine Learning Models Spot Fraud in Thousands of Data Points

Data plays a key role in accurately detecting fraudulent activity. But identifying fraud patterns within mass amounts of data is difficult without leveraging advanced analytics, like machine learning. American Express uses a machine learning-powered fraud detection model to monitor in real-time and generate a fraud decision in milliseconds every single time an American Express card is used around the world. That’s for more than $1.2 trillion in transaction value every year. 

 

American Express Protects Your Online Account

American Express helps prevent credit card fraud whenever you log on to your account, in a few ways:

  • Website security. Encryption technology secures all sensitive data transferred between you and American Express.
  • Automatic time-outs. You will be logged out of your account after 10 minutes of inactivity. If you leave your device or use a public device, others can’t access your account.
  • Password recovery confirmations. You’ll automatically receive an email confirmation if you try to recover a forgotten password. If you get a password recovery email when you didn’t try to recover your password, call the number on the back of your American Express Credit Card.

 

You Can Opt-In to Amex Fraud Alerts

You can also log on to your American Express account to opt into fraud alerts. You can choose between receiving an email and/or text message every time your account experiences:

  • Irregular account activity.
  • A card-not-present transaction made online or by phone.
  • A cash advance.
  • Foreign transactions.
  • A purchase over a set price, such as $100.

 

Close Merchant Relationships Also Help Prevent Credit Card Fraud

American Express’ globally integrated payment network creates direct relationships with both Card Members and merchants, which provides a unique advantage when it comes to fighting fraud. American Express provides payment services to its Card Members and merchants directly, without using third-party financial institutions. Compared to an open-loop system where card issuers partner with third-party banks, this closed-loop system helps provide American Express with more visibility into data that is necessary to detect and prevent suspicious transactions – particularly ones made outside of your normal spending habits. 

 

In addition, American Express offers several tools that merchants can use to further protect you against fraud, such as:

  • SafeKey, which automatically authenticates online and app-based transactions.
  • Amex Tokenization Service, a secure payment method that prevents merchants from having to store your real account number. Instead, your card number is replaced with a unique token that is used to conduct payment transactions, reducing the risk of fraud.
  • Verify-It, a web tool that validates Card Member billing information so merchants can cancel suspected fraudulent transactions before items are shipped to the recipient. 

If a fraudulent transaction is attempted, you will be alerted immediately. So it’s a good idea to keep your account and contact information accurate and up-to-date.

 

Being Proactive Can Further Protect You from Credit Card Fraud

American Express works hard to protect you from fraud, but it’s also important for you to take an active role, too. For example, if you notice any suspicious activity or possible fraud attempts, be sure to contact spoof@americanexpress.com, or call the number on the back of your card. 

 

With the following actions, you can do your part to help prevent credit card fraud:

  • Regularly monitor your account for unusual activity.
  • Sign up for fraud alerts.
  • Ensure your account information is always accurate and up-to-date.
  • Regularly review your credit report, which is available free at annualcreditreport.com or through American Express’ MyCredit Guide.
  • Create strong passwords and PINs.
  • Bookmark the sites you visit most, or type in the URL, instead of clicking on links.
  • Keep personal information secure.
  • Avoid sharing personal information – like credit card numbers – over the phone. 

To learn more about how American Express helps protect your account and what you can do to keep yourself safe, visit the Security Center.

 

The Takeaway

After pioneering early fraud detection methods, American Express has been consistently at the forefront of credit card fraud prevention. Today, several layers of fraud protection work together to help keep Card Members safe, from online account security to using cutting edge technology to scan thousands of data points in every transaction. At the same time, though, Card Members can do their part by monitoring their accounts, signing up for fraud alerts, keeping their contact information up-to-date, and creating strong passwords and PINs.

Megan Doyle

Megan Doyle is a business technology writer and researcher whose work focuses on financial services and cross-cultural diversity and inclusion.

 

All Credit Intel content is written by freelance authors and commissioned and paid for by American Express. 

The material made available for you on this website, Credit Intel, is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or financial advice. If you have questions, please consult your own professional legal, tax and financial advisors.