Companies that Watch Everything You Buy during the Holidays

by Rachel Baker on November 27, 2013

Quartz has a article listing (and explaining) a few of the companies that could be keeping track of purchases during the holiday season to help their customers battle fraud and dubious charges on credit cards and bank accounts.

If last year is anything to go by, Americans will spend over $60 billion in the four days from Thanksgiving, this Thursday (Nov. 28), to the end of the weekend. That doesn’t include “cyber Monday,” when merchants put up post-Thanksgiving deals online; Adobe reckons Americans will spend another $2.3 billion on that day this year, up 15% from last year.

This is great news for retailers. It is also a bonanza for fraudsters (registration required), who use the holiday rush to sneak in charges that they hope will go unnoticed. Dubious deals, card fraud and even returns fraud are popular scams. And as if to make their lives easier, many companies relax their fraud measures somewhat over the holiday period to avoid frustrating legitimate customers. And even shoppers unaffected by fraud may find their bank and credit card statements filled with baffling charges when they get around to reviewing their statements in the haze of the new year.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Verifying card transactions is no longer about just one signature or four-digit PIN. Instead, for every transaction you make over the coming days and weeks, a number of companies around the world will analyze vast amounts of data, helping banks, credit-card issuers, merchants and shoppers to ensure they aren’t being ripped off. This will help reduce the number both of fraudulent transactions and, as importantly, of legitimate payments that are declined as suspicious. And not all the data will flow to big corporations. Customers too can use the data to get a better sense of what they are spending.

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