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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 may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the 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

Discover it® Miles key features:

  • Bonus miles: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Rewards Rate: Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee..
  • Redeem your miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Introductory APR for purchases: 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases, then standard APR 11.99% - 22.99% variable apr.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 10.99% Intro APR for 14 months on balance transfers, then standard APR 11.99% - 22.99% variable apr.

Top cashback rewards card: Discover it® Cash Back

  • 0% for 14 months on purchases and Balance Transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically*

  • Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

More Info

Discover it® Cash Back key features:

  • Cashback Match: For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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 11.99% - 22.99% variable apr.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 0% for 14 months, then standard APR 11.99% - 22.99% variable apr.

Top balance transfer card: Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer key features:

  • 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

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% intro for 6 Months*

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

  • 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • 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.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Student Cash Back

More Info

Discover it® Student Cash Back key features:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
  • Introductory APR for purchases: 0% for 6 months on purchases, then standard APR 12.99% - 21.99% variable apr.
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers: 10.99% for 6 months, then standard APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR.

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