Combating Card Fraud – Enabling Text Alerts on Cards

By Elvis Huff on June 15, 2016
5 minute read

With all of the recent posts, news stories, and water-cooler horror disclosures that we get from those who have traveled down the treacherous road of being victimized from card fraud, I wanted to share with you a personal experience of how I signed up for Wilson Bank’s new card alert system, SMS Guardian. This is all part of our new fraud monitoring service for our customers. A brief overview can be found here.

Yes, I do work there, but I am a customer too. Just like you, I sometimes have to sit on the other side of the desk, in the driver’s seat, the customer chair. As such, I have the same concerns that customer’s do: loans, interest rates, safety of my money, card fraud, etc. As a result, my wife and I decided tonight to signup for the new SMS Guardian service that Wilson Bank is offering. Basically, the service works like this – it monitors all of your cards for certain transactions and when it finds something that matches the criteria, you get a text message alert. Specifically, the service keeps a watchful eye out for the following:

  • International transactions
  • Authorizations greater than $200
  • Eight or more transactions in a 24 hour period
  • Card not present (keyed)
  • Declined authorizations

In the alert, you can read the message and take no action, ideal if the transaction is legitimate. If you receive a text message alerting you of a fraudulent transaction, you simply need to reply to the text message with the unique reply code listed in the message. This is my favorite part. Texting this reply code back to SMSGuardian will automatically block the card, and prevent future unauthorized transactions. Example, you get a text message alert of a $500 hotel check in charge while you are at home. You immediately reply to the text message alert and the card is permanently blocked, preventing future charges. This ensures that the fraudster does not get a nice meal on you too.

However, it is important to note that this will not reverse the initial fraudulent charge. To reverse the charge, you should contact your local branch to file a dispute on your account as soon as possible.

Finally, for those hibernating types, you can setup do not disturb times, all based on the timezone you specify. This is done under the preferences section. I am OCD about too many things so I opted to get notified all of the time.


Setting up this immense monitoring is easy. You simply need to have all of your cards that you wish to enroll for monitoring, your mobile device that you want to receive alerts on, and a few minutes of your time. I went to the card monitoring website here: and entered my first card number. Next, I had to enter the last four of my social security number, and zip code. I clicked accept at the terms of service. Next, I entered my cell phone number and clicked next. I was instructed to send the system a text with a unique code to confirm enrollment; I did and the system sent me a message back stating that I had successfully enrolled. Once done, I went to the top of the screen and clicked on Logout. This brought me back to the login screen once again so that I could continue the process for the remaining cards I had to enroll. There were only a couple more and I had the entire process done in about 15 minutes. This included a mistype of one of the card numbers and the subsequent error message based on my keyboard aberration.

After Thoughts

Overall the process went smooth and did not take long at all. You do have to enroll each card and send the text in to the number provided by the system. Do not worry, this is all automated. This is not hard but is the “hardest” part of the process in my opinion as it takes a minute per card. I now feel much better about keeping track of my family’s cards and accounts because I feel empowered with the information that will come in, prompting me to take appropriate action should the time come.

Lastly, if you did not find my brief overview helpful, I would encourage you to review a step by step guide here. This link has screenshots for every step in case you have questions.


Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

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