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Your purchase triggered fraud protection
Your purchase triggered fraud protection | Adrian Weinbrecht/Getty Images

Your purchase triggered fraud protection

Besides international purchases, certain "suspicious" activity can lock down your credit card. Sherry says purchasing items such as large electronics or jewelry may raise an alert.

"(These are) things that would be unusual and the things a thief would do if they got ahold of your card," says Sherry.

It may be a hassle to find your dream flat-screen television only to get denied at the register, but this is your credit card company's fraud protection program in action.

"Credit card issuers lose millions to fraud every year, so they're very sensitive when your spending pattern changes," says John Ulzheimer, a nationally recognized credit expert in Atlanta, who formerly worked at credit companies FICO and Equifax. "They just want to be sure it's a legitimate charge."

That's not to say these indulgences are off-limits to your credit card. You can still splurge on that diamond necklace -- just call your credit card company and notify it of your purchase.

And if there is fraudulent activity, the issuer will disable your card and send you a new one. It won't close your account, and this will have no effect on your credit score, says Ulzheimer.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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