Tuesday, June 16, 2020

We've noticed some unusual activity on your account

Most credit card companies are vigilant about watching for unusual activity. 

Their algorithms constantly scan accounts and purchases, flagging any suspicious activity, and alert customers about any questionable transactions. Their computers know our spending habits better than we do. 

If we're suddenly buying a thousand dollar handbag, but the average charge on our card rarely exceeds a few hundred dollars, be ready for the notification. 

We've noticed some unusual activity on your account and are concerned. Everything okay? Please call if you have questions. 

When this happens, customers feel scared and surprised, but also safe and cared for. Considering credit and debit card fraud is one of the biggest financial fears people have, fraud notifications offer us peace of mind. 

Wouldn't it be great if people could receive similar notifications for every area of their lives? 

Just imagine, any time our behavior dramatically deviated from our normal patterns, it triggers a red flag. A computer analyzes every permutation in our history, measuring biofeedback such as pupil dilation, heart rate and body temperature; along with geolocation, cell phone data and other relevant data points, calculated against the standard variation, discovering if the activity is unusual and suspicious. 

The human seems to be experiencing genuine shock and surprise. Pupil dilation. Elevated heartbeat. Deploy response team!

Technologically, this is possible. With the capabilities of artificial intelligence, we are closer to this reality than we realize. 

Culturally, however, we may not be ready for this yet. It's a little too close to one of those science fiction thriller movies. 

But in the meantime, this a useful exercise for each person to ask themselves. 

What triggers a red flag for you? What qualifies as unusual or suspicious activity? 

Credit card companies, for example, have certified identity theft risk management specialists who look for the following spending patterns:

Shopping away from your home base, making several purchases quickly, buying something small and then something big, charging travel expenses in multiple geographic locations on the same day, and so on.

What red flags are on your personal list? What if you shared that list with the people closest to you, and they were notified in the event of unusual or suspicious activity? 

It might prevent people from going down some dangerous roads, creating greater levels of accountability and integrity within relationships. 

Look, they're already watching our every move anyway. May as well use it for our benefit. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who is notified when your behavior suddenly becomes unusual and suspicious?