Exec's Identity Theft Inspires Wells Fargo Credit Card Alerts
A text message received while on the treadmill convinced a Wells Fargo executive to move forward with a real-time credit alert service launching this month. According to a report in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Kevin Rhein signed up for a test of a new account monitoring platform in development with Visa. His Blackberry buzzed with a note confirming a $1,500 computer purchase in Las Vegas, thousands of miles from where Rhein was enjoying his daily workout.

By contacting his card's fraud services team, Rhein was able to prevent identity thieves from making further charges on his account while alerting retailers to potential theft. After experiencing the power of real-time fraud alerts firsthand, Rhein and Wells Fargo have announced that Rapid Alerts will now be available free for all of the company's cardholders. The text messages report the amount, time, date, and the location of transactions, giving cardholders all the information necessary to report credit card fraud to law enforcement officials and to the bank. Customers can enroll in the service and customize alert thresholds on the Wells Fargo website.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.