Update On My Citi Premier Fraud Situation – Changes May Be Coming

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Citi Premier Fraud

Update On My Citi Premier Fraud Situation – Changes May Be Coming

Citi Premier, oh how I really want to be on the same page.  More so than that, I just want to be able to use you!  That was my sentiments a few weeks ago when I wrote, ‘Citi’s fraud verification process makes no sense’. I detailed my crazy experience with the Citi fraud department after trying to use my new Premier card and we talked about it on the Podcast as well. Be sure to check those out for background info if you missed them. Even after all of that I had to call the fraud department several more times, almost on a daily basis.  One time I called to clear the card, was told it was good, and then it declined paying for an oil change a few hours later.  It is safe to say that I was at my boiling point and that is when things took a turn for the better.

A Couple Of Interesting Phone Calls

The oil change denial happened on a Thursday and the following day, Friday, I was heading to Las Vegas. (I detailed my trip and showed one of the cooler Vegas rooms in our recent MtM Vegas episode). I figured my card would be ripe for multiple denials on the trip but I was taking the card anyway.

Well, on Friday morning I received two more calls from Citi about fraud on my card. The funny thing was that I hadn’t even used it that day.  I was wrapping up stuff before my flight and wasn’t going to call them back either.  I did notice that the second message was from a man named Aaron saying he was from Citibank’s executive offices. He said in the message that he was going to look into my account and the continuous fraud issues. He also said that I could call back if I had questions. I didn’t have time to with it being a travel day but figured maybe my account would finally be unlocked for normal usage. Off to Vegas I went!

During my time in Vegas I had several large restaurant and bar charges that went through without a hitch. The perks of traveling with a group of cash paying individuals 😁. I was shocked that a $60 oil change gets denied but a $380 Legacy Club bar tab goes through no problem.  I figured my man Aaron was to thank for this but didn’t think anything more of it the rest of the weekend.

Citi Premier Fraud

Citi Reaches Out Upon Return

A few days after I got back from Vegas I thanked my lucky stars that my credit card actually worked normally and it seemed like my fraud issues were behind me.  That is when I got a call from South Dakota and I correctly assumed it was from Citi (the only reason I answered a random number).  I thought to myself, uh what now!?

It was Aaron from the executive office giving me a call back.  He wanted to update me on what he had found and close the service issue loop so to speak.

My Article Makes The Citi Rounds

He informed me that they had read my article and that is what brought the issue to his attention and why he reached out in the first place.  Aaron also said that when he called the head of the fraud department they had also already read the article, I guess it was forwarded around Citi’s departments.

Citi Premier Fraud

Phone Calls A Many

He also informed me that he went back and listened to some of my numerous phone calls. Aaron agreed that the phone calls, fraud requirements and the overall system wasn’t consistent at all. He also said that it should not be like that and he wanted to let me know that this had alerted them the issues within their systems. He said that they are working on retraining reps in the fraud department and fine tuning the set up.  Hopefully it leads to a more streamlined experience for the consumer because every time I called I received a different run around to confirm my account.

I agreed with Aaron that the inconsistency was the main issue.  I don’t mind fraud warnings but it shouldn’t be that hard to release my card and it shouldn’t happen that often.  If it required a simple text confirmation most of the time that isn’t a big deal and still keeps the account pretty safe.

The Winds Of Change

That is when he informed that Citi was also looking at their system for fraud alerts on new accounts.  They are going to see if they can tweak it some so new accounts are not triggered so much or see how they can make the system better and more accurate overall.

At the end of the call he offered me 10,000 ThankYou Points as an apology for all of the issues which I thought was very generous.  To be honest, the phone call, and the fact that they had taken the situation seriously, was enough for me.  It could just be empty promises and corporate speak for sure but I did get the feeling that they took it more seriously than that.

Final Thoughts

It was quite a few couple of weeks but the thing that surprised me most about all of this was how common my occurrences were with other Citi cardholders.  I figured that I was just an unlucky random data point but I got messages, texts, article comments and emails from many people that had dealt with similar things and the Citi fraud department.

I do have some hope after Aaron’s phone call that maybe my experience will drive some change.  He thanked me for bringing it to their attention so that they could make the necessary adjustments.  I hope that he, and the rest of the Citi team, are able to deliver on the needed changes. The Citi Premier is a very solid product, when you are actually able to use it!

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. About a year ago, p2 tried making a debit card payment via chat, which has been done many times. The rep claimed that p2 couldn’t do it because he couldn’t verify the phone number, even though p2 has had the number for years and paid via chat on the same computer multiple times and used the same phone number. And, it wasn’t an issue with multiple accounts being managed on the same computer because that has never occurred. But, p2 had just switched phone carriers and they cited that as the reason. Ok.

    Here’s what I found odd. After calling them today and trying to opt out of the voice print, the rep claimed that it couldn’t be done because it’s used for security. If that’s true, why are so many of you having issues verifying your accounts? I’m confused. I don’t understand why they would use a voice to confirm an account without actually getting a customer’s permission to do it first. It’s not uncommon to have someone call in for you. So, is the first person that calls for the account deemed the account owner? Weird…And, this call was prompted after P2 received a mailer from them that contained what is believed to be toxic black mold. They gave P2 a $75 statement credit for the inconvenience. But, the different reps seemed more interested in whether P2 responded to the mailer. Unbelievable.

  2. I hope things improve for my Sears card as well. Just a few days I had to make 2 calls to have 1 transaction go through

    • That sucks Teo – I hope it levels out. I know most people only had to deal with it 2-3 times before it seemed to be normal. Hopefully you don’t end up like me 🙂

  3. I cancelled a Citi card for these exact reasons. Continually declined even after calling to notify of a large purchase, ridiculous fraud alerts, my phone number that I’ve had for over a decade wasn’t able to be confirmed, etc. These issues are not new. I’m glad you got some recourse, but the experience with them soured me on their products (which really aren’t that great to begin with).

    • It is crazy how many people seem to have the same story. Hopefully this leads to some much needed changes.

  4. Bloggers get special treatment again! I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised. It’s like the guy who received insane compensation from that Hyatt in Africa due to some minor issues and wanted us to believe that his status as a blogger didn’t play a role.

    • Haha I was waiting for this comment John, thanks for being predictable 🙂

      Hopefully it ends up helping everyone since it brought the issue to light within the company. I guess you could call the 10,000 points special treatment although that is pretty standard when you finally do get to someone higher up in a company.

      As for the compensation in Africa if you think they knew that Ryan writes for a travel site when he was staying there then I have some ocean front property in Nebraska to sell you.

      • I was given 15000 miles for dealing with a cancelled flight that left us in Honolulu for an extra day.

        15000 miles, taxi rides to and from a night on the 28th floor of the Hilton Waikiki with a stunning view of the hills, and $100 in meal vouchers that we were able to use at the Hilton.

        Not a blogger. But I do know the difference between aggression and assertiveness, and practice the latter.

        • I agree that it isn’t all that difficult to get 10K plus when things go wrong and you get to the right person. I got it from Delta for the seat back entertainment not working in Comfort+ before and that was before I wrote for MtM. That is why I thought John’s comment was off the mark.

    • John are you kidding? He did have enough of an audience to get their attention and hopefully bring change to Citi to help others. Is your solution him not sharing about it? How come we don’t get praise for being honest about our successes, frustrations and failures with Citi and other banks. Many blogs would never be critical of a bank in this way for fear of retribution. But sure we’re just bloggers getting special treatment.

      • Shawn,

        Bloggers do get special attention. Heck, Mark was flat told that the guys there at Citi had read his post.

        It is OK to have that happen, but OWN IT. Why can’t you admit you have the “Bully Pulpit” and that you do get benefit from it (just like commissions on sales and credit card sign-ups)? That honesty would go a long way. It’s a kind of privilege, just like others.

        C’mon. the people reading your stuff are not knuckleheads. We know that being the blogger gets you places and offers, etc. Many bloggers post about how they got this or that. That’s not the deal. It is the trying to say or act like you don’t get anything out of what you do besides the $$$ for credit cards and stuff.

        Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents. Like I said before. I am glad Mark got resolution and also hope it helps other people. But it wouldn’t have had the impact at Citi if he had not Blogged about it, and that is flat out true.


        • The point Shawn is making is we don’t take special offers or seek them out. We don’t announce who we are when we go places or fly on planes etc. So to say that every time something falls our way is simply because we are a “blogger” is inaccurate and lessons the experience we are sharing. As stated Ryan’s last name is nowhere to be found on this site or anywhere so how would a property know he is a blogger to give him extra special treatment?

          Does it happen when we write an article from time to time? Sure. I can count on one hand the times it has happened to me. Did it potentially get me 10K in points? Sure but did it save me from making 10-15 phone calls about fraud? Nope. Did being a blogger really change my experience overall? Not really. It did potentially help people in the future.

          It just seems like a lazy narrative overall to me. It may be something other sites seek out and do as “influencers” etc. but it is something we try to avoid as much as possible.

        • Carl we have worked 8 years building this blog and its audience. There is/was no special treatment. If you mean people who have built and audience and who have a voice get companies to notice their own deficiencies then I will own that all day. Besides Mark being a blogger got him nothing as far as avoiding Citi’s frustrations and issues. All it did was finally get someone higher up to listen to an issue that is affecting the customer experience.

          • I’m more inclined to distrust blogs that DON’T write about when they get contacted by CC companies/airlines/whatever. Would’ve been very easy for Mark to not write this up or change some of the details & the reading audience is none the wiser. I think we all know there are blogs out there where that would happen…
            Also, there’s no way 10k TYP are worth dealing with Citi customer service a dozen times. Eff that.

    • I will also add Ryan does not share his last name on the site for personal reasons and there is no picture of him up close for the same reasons. So I would love to know how the hotel knew who he was….

    • This is very different from the guy in Africa. These were real problems and Mark did not ask for compensation. I am glad Mark wrote this. And glad, he writes alot of great posts on this blog.

  5. Well, we have definitely learned, or been reminded of, two things for sure here.

    1. If you write a blog you will get better service some of the time, (not that this won’t help a lot of civilians as well) and, much more importantly,

    2. The banks REALLY DO read these blogs, and the comments as well, I am sure, so more proof that both the writers and the commenters very much ought to be more circumspect about deals.

    I am glad you got things fixed. I’ve not had problems with my Citi cards other than an occasional text to see if that was me making a charge, but your tale of woe really sounded like a PITA. Hopefully all will be well from now on.

  6. That was really cool actually. I just had to cancel the Prestige card because I couldn’t justify the high annual fee. Aaron – if you’re reading this – I love Citi, but be more competitive w Chase. They didn’t bat an eye and lowering my annual fee as a statement credit on the Sapphire Reserve and their travel partners cater more to the domestic traveler than international. Just my .02.

    Good job nevertheless.. covid has been stressful enough!

    • I thought it was very proactive of them and something I did not expect at all. Hopefully it leads to some better systems within Citi.


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