Guide to Discover Card Identity Theft and Fraud Protection Programs

Kathleen Esposito
Identity Theft Fraud

In the unfortunate event that you find yourself a victim of identity theft or fraud related to your Discover credit card, the company can help protect your finances and credit history. As a Discover cardholder, you are in very capable hands. Javelin Research ranked Discover number one in fraud protection among the top 20 card issuers in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Fraud Protection

The company's early warning system for potential fraudulent activity fulfills an important role in alerting cardholders. It looks out for red flags such as:

  • Large out-of-town purchases
  • Purchases that don't fit your typical card usage
  • Purchases that occur while your card is reported lost or stolen

If the system is triggered, a representative will contact you and ask you about the charges before holding you responsible for them. Stella Louise writes on Nerd Wallet, "Their fraud department is very diligent with seemingly innocuous incidents triggering them to place holds on my account. " Some may argue that when it comes to fraud protection, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Fraud Alerts

You can also sign up for free fraud alerts through Discover online and be notified by e-mail or text instead of through a phone call if you wish. Just be careful to call Discover at a number you know to be correct to resolve the issue instead of clicking on a link in any e-mail or responding to a phone message. Otherwise, you could find yourself the victim of a phishing scam.

Zero Liability

If fraudulent charges are made to your Discover account, you won't be responsible for paying any of the charges. Once fraudulent activity is detected, a fraud specialist will be assigned to work closely with you. You'll also have access to on-staff fraud representatives 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Not everyone is happy with this policy. A consumer reported to Just Answer that Discover denied responsibility when she was fraudulently charged for a cruise and refused to refund her money.

If you suspect fraud has occurred and have not been notified by Discover, call 1-800-347-2683 as soon as possible.

Online Statements

Discover allows account holders to receive their monthly statements online instead of via postal mail at no charge to help keep their information safe from dumpster divers or individuals who steal from mailboxes. Instead of receiving your monthly account statements by mail, you'll simply receive an email notification letting you know that you can log into your account and view your statement online.

Identity Theft Protection

If you want to extend your fraud protection to protect against identity theft (which differs from fraud in that the user doesn't just make charges to your card but also uses your personal information to open new accounts), you can opt to enroll in Discover's comprehensive identity theft protection program. Program benefits include:

  • Comprehensive monitoring of your credit file
  • Identity theft insurance ($25,000)
  • Initial simplified copy of your credit report
  • Instant notification of certain types of changes to your credit report
  • Quarterly credit report updates
  • Telephone access to credit report and identity theft advisors

A user praised this service on C-Net: "If your credit cards are stolen or lost, one call and they take care of notifying all the credit card companies. All that and much more."

There is a monthly fee related to this service. Some customers have complained that they signed up not knowing that there was a fee involved, and a 2012 inquiry resulted in Discover refunding a substantial amount of money to customers who felt as though they had been tricked into believing this service was free.

To sign up, visit the Discover Identity Theft Protection online registration form or call toll free 866-708-0672.

A Good Option

It's in your best interest to be diligent in making sure your identity is protected at all times. When it comes to identity theft, Discover credit card fraud protection is a good option for keeping your finances and your credit history safe.

Guide to Discover Card Identity Theft and Fraud Protection Programs