General Question

SergeantQueen's avatar

Why does my bank keep flagging things as potential fraud?

Asked by SergeantQueen (11140points) 1 week ago

I’m calling my bank tomorrow morning but I am so confused.

I am not asking for specifics, just maybe some general reasons things get flagged. I’m sure the specifics depend on the bank.

I tried to buy a $60 game online but it wouldn’t go through at all. Yet a $70+ purchase online on something else was fine.

I’m sure it partially depends on the bank but are there some universal reasons for why things get flagged? I wonder if it has to do with the seller originating out of state but it’s Nintendo not a third party thing. And it’s not Nintendo of Japan it’s Nintendo of America so it’s still in the country.

I also get flagged if the seller is out of the country but that was for something entirely different.

They put my card on hold for the game, I verified it was me but it never went through and I still couldn’t buy it.

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22 Answers

SergeantQueen's avatar

I should add, I got a game for Christmas, and when they put their card info in it went through. They have the same bank I do and same card type. It is just my card.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Without getting into specifics, I would be glad they do it. My Paypal account was frozen recently because of an address change. I buy and sell on eBay regularly. It was resolved in a day. Scams are so common that a few extra hoops make me feel safer.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Well yeah I am glad. But just a bit frustrated because I just want to buy a game. I am just curious why they flag one thing and not the other.

JLoon's avatar

I know what you mean.

Everything is potentially fraud – and potentially true. And maybe a potenial disaster where you get rescued at the last minute, but the guy turns out to be married or already has a girlfriend.

Sometimes I think the bank spends too much time talking to my mom.

But in your case maybe you should just switch banks.

JLeslie's avatar

If you are making purchases outside of your normal habits it can trigger a fraud alert.

Did you check your recent purchases? Is someone using your card? Make sure you don’t have anything charged on your card that you didn’t charge.

Call the bank is the best thing.

cheebdragon's avatar

Have you made any returns lately? A couple of months ago Bank of America froze my account after I returned an $800 laptop to Best Buy. They didn’t have an issue with money leaving my account when I made the purchase, but money going back into the account was automatically flagged as fraudulent. I was on hold with customer service for over 6hrs before they figured out the issue and unfroze the account.

cookieman's avatar

My bank goes through phases like this too. They tell me it’s an automated system that uses an algorithm to look for “unusual” activity on your account. It can be based on amount spent, geographic location, specific store, time of day, frequency of purchases, online vendor, etc.

It’s a little bit of a hassle, but I’m really glad they are diligent about it.

SergeantQueen's avatar

It is because I guess the purchase was counted as out of this country. Nintendo is based in Canada not here

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sounds like the websites you were trying to buy things on ended in ”.ni” or ”.ru” ! They may have been known fraudulent websites.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s usually because they get a ton of chargebacks from certain vendors, so they simply disallow so-called ‘bad’ vendors from doing transactions.

It is not likely to be you that is the problem – rather the honesty of the people you are buying from.

SergeantQueen's avatar

No I was buying it directly on my switch through Nintendo’s E store. Not a website. It was going through whatever server in Canada and therefore my card blocked it because I cannot make out of country purchases. I have no choice in the country I buy it from. My switch is set to U.S but Nintendo must be based in Canada. I thought “Nintendo of America”= U.S but it is obviously North America as a whole

SergeantQueen's avatar

So there was no 3rd party involved. I was buying it online directly from Nintendo

Zaku's avatar

They use computer algorithms which can be rather inaccurate, that automatically attempt to identify purchases that look different from your previous spending behavior, and/or similar to fraud cases in their databases.

I imagine that computer games are one of the things in their fraud databases. Once you have one or two in your recent records as non-fraud, I would hope/expect them not to get flagged.

New purchase locations, types, and large amounts have some chance of getting flagged.

I recently went through this with a credit card I don’t usually use for much of anything, making a purchase that was local but somewhat large. Denied. Apparently they SENT ME AN EMAIL in response and expected me to reply to that to clear it. LOL. I cleared it up with them after a few days by filling out the customer feedback questionnaire for the first customer service rep (who was ridiculously unhelpful). The second rep changed my account settings so at least if something if flagged, I will get a text message on my mobile (GROAN) that will (in theory – we’ll see how well that works next time it happens) at least let me quickly clear it up at the point of sale.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Yeah. The annoying thing now is that whenever I want to buy a game I have to call my bank and have them open it up to Canada. Ugh. Otherwise I could get a credit card but nah

Zaku's avatar

I don’t know what you’re doing exactly, but I have bought games for online download using PayPal.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Yeah I did it through paypal too

Zaku's avatar

The problem wasn’t on a purchase done through PayPal, though, was it?

SergeantQueen's avatar

once through paypal once through just my card. Both flagged and declined

Zaku's avatar

You may not want to, but how about using PayPal Credit? Then the bank would not be involved in the transaction with the game company; only with paying PayPal eventually?

cheebdragon's avatar

You should probably just get a prepaid card and use that for game purchases in the future, less hassle.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Honestly I like that better. I can look into PayPal Credit but if it’s not a physical card I would be weary. I feel more secure when it’s in my possession

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