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A Guide to Discover’s Identity Theft Alerts

A Guide to Discover’s Identity Theft Alerts

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Oct 18, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Protecting your Social Security number and other personal financial information against thieves will never be as simple as flipping the lock on your front door and turning on your security system. With that harsh reality in mind, Discover card aims to strengthen protections for account holders, building on the free credit monitoring service the company launched in 2017.

About 14% fewer consumers fell victim to credit card fraud in 2018 compared with 2017, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Yet, in terms of damage to consumers’ finances, the financial burden shouldered by consumers or how much fraud is costing consumers, by some measures, identity theft got worse.

Fraud victims last year shouldered “a much heavier burden” than previous years, Javelin found. Some 3.3 million victims bore some of the liability for fraud in 2018, nearly three times as many as 2016. Victims’ out-of-pocket fraud costs more than doubled in 2018, to $1.7 billion, from 2016.

How Discover’s free identity theft alert program works

To help protect consumers, Discover’s identity theft alert service monitors websites known to illegally sell or trade personal data and alerts card members if their Social Security numbers are found. Additionally, Discover card members get a heads-up email or text if any new credit cards, mortgages, car loans or other accounts are opened on their Experian credit report.

If you receive such an alert, or otherwise believe your identity may have been compromised, you can call a Discover customer service agent (all of whom are based in the U.S.) and be walked through necessary steps to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Discover Card steps up security in other ways

Another Discover fraud prevention feature is Freeze it®, a mobile app- or website-based “on-off” switch enabling customers to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if they misplace their card. If you find your card, you can easily “unfreeze” it, or, if it never turns up, have it replaced.

Discover also monitors every purchase, 24 hours a day, to sniff out any unusual activity, and offers a $0 fraud liability guarantee, meaning cardmembers are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on their accounts. Other Discover features include a free Credit Scorecard showing your FICO® Score based on data from TransUnion (score may differ from other credit bureaus).

Why seek credit cards with bulked-up, proactive security features that extend outside the immediate “perimeter” of your account? Because cyber criminals are relentless, constantly coming up with new, creative angles of attack against businesses and consumers.

“While the decrease in card fraud rates is undoubtedly good news for victims, fraudsters have turned their attention to opening and taking over accounts,” Al Pascual, Javelin Strategy & Research’s senior vice president, said in his firm’s report.

As banks and credit card companies modernize account opening processes, “it’s paramount they incorporate tools like document scanning, behavioral risk assessments and digital identity,” Pascual continued. Such tools “will streamline digital applications while challenging fraudsters.”

Protect your identity in a few quick steps

Using a credit card with security alerts, such as Discover’s, is just one component in the diligent consumer’s security game plan. Here’s four additional steps to help protect your identity and safeguard your Social Security number and other personal financial information:

  1. Check your credit report regularly – You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Do you see any errors or accounts you don’t recognize? Contact the credit bureau immediately.
  2. Consider an initial fraud alert – If you want a new credit card, go ahead and apply, but consider starting a fraud alert after applying. Any of the three major credit reporting bureaus will let you set up a free initial fraud alert, which typically lasts 90 days. If you or someone else tries to open a new account under your name, lenders will verify with you before approving or denying the application.
  3. Set up a security freeze – Even if your identity hasn’t been compromised, it’s wise (and easy) to request a credit freeze at each of the major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Your credit file will be effectively put on ice, preventing lenders from accessing your credit history in response to any new credit application. If you’re seeking a new mortgage or auto loan, plan ahead and make sure to “unfreeze” your credit file first. Unlike an initial fraud alert, a security freeze stays in place until you remove it.
  4. Use credit cards (wisely) – Credit cards offer better protections than other forms of payment, including cash, debit cards and checks. If a hacker steals your credit card number, you’re protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, and federal law limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges to $50. However, many credit card companies, including Discover, offer $0 fraud liability guarantee.

Learn more: Credit Card Security: 10 Tips to Keep Your Information Safe

Discover’s top credit card offers

Kicking the tires on new credit cards? It’s a good idea to think about the type of consumer you are, as well as the broader card features and perks you value the most – travel rewards, cash back, balance transfers, cards for students, etc. Then, shop around.

Take a quick look at Discover’s top credit card offers

Top travel card: Discover it® Miles

  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.*

  • 1.5 Miles per $1 Spent*

  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases*

Highlights
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Miles

More Info

Discover it® Miles key features:

  • Bonus miles: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel!
  • Rewards Rate: Unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem your miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Introductory APR for purchases: 0% for 14 months, then standard APR 13.49% - 24.49% variable.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 10.99% for 14 months, then standard APR 13.49% - 24.49% variable.

Top cashback rewards card: Discover it® Cash Back

  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*

  • Any amount, any time. Cash back rewards never expire*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

More Info

Discover it® Cash Back key features:

  • Cashback Match: For new cardmembers, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.*
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem any amount, any time; cash back rewards never expire.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Introductory APR for purchases: 0% for 14 months, then standard APR 13.49% - 24.49% variable.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 0% for 14 months, then standard APR 13.49% - 24.49% variable.

Top balance transfer card: Discover it® Balance Transfer

  • 0% for 18 months on balance transfers & 0% for 6 months on purchases*

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*

  • 13.49% - 24.49% Variable*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Balance Transfer

More Info

Discover it® Balance Transfer key features:

  • Introductory APR: 0% for 18 months on balance transfers and 0% for 6 months on purchases, then standard APR 13.49% - 24.49% variable.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* fee on balances transferred by Jan. 10, 2020.

Never done a balance transfer with Discover before? Learn how to make such a transfer online and a few other quick pointers.

Top student credit card: Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • 0% for 6 Months*

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*

  • 14.49% - 23.49% Variable*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.49% - 23.49%.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Student Cash Back

More Info

Discover it® Student Cash Back key features:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • “Good Grade Reward” provides a $20 statement credit each school year if your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for as long as five years.
  • Introductory APR for purchases: 0% for 6 months, then standard APR 14.49% - 23.49% variable.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 10.99% for 6 months, then standard APR 14.49% - 23.49% Variable.

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