Do you take a close look at all your bills and statements every month? Do you look at all the charges? Are you familiar with each chargeâ€”where, when and to whom? Do you recognize monthly recurring charges? Did you know that nine out of 10 people donâ€™t check their bills, or merely skim them quickly for large purchases?
Did you know that by federal law, after 60 days if there is a fraudulent credit card charge or a â€œgrey chargeâ€ that you didnâ€™t authorize, you can be held liable and responsible for the charge? Did you know that by federal law itâ€™s only two days where your bankâ€™s debit card is concerned?
Did you know that your bank doesnâ€™t protect you from all credit card fraud or from grey charges? Banks use so-called â€œanomaly detection softwareâ€ to seek out charges that might not appear to make sense. For example, if you use your credit card at your local gas station at noon and then 10 minutes later your cardâ€™s information is used in Russia, your bank will see that as an anomaly and flag the charge. But banks donâ€™t catch everything, which means that, at some point, youâ€™ve probably paid for stuff you shouldnâ€™t have.
BillGuardâ€”a free service that harnesses our collective vigilance to protect everyone from deceptive and unwanted charges that result from misleading sales and billing practices, such as hidden charges, billing errors, and misleading subscriptions,â€”estimates the average consumer loses over $300 a year to unwanted charges he or she is not even aware of. Card fraud alone is an $8 billion-a-year crime, with banks catching only a third of it. The rest is up to us as consumers.In contrast BillGuard estimates that grey charges are a much higher dollar amount, simply on the basis that it impacts every consumer.
Every day, tens of thousands of people report bad charges on their credit and debit cards to their banks and merchants. Millions more post their complaints online. Up until now, all that knowledge hasn’t been benefiting the most important person of allâ€”you.
Visit BillGuard and check out your statements online at least every two weeks.
Robert SicilianoÂ is a fraud prevention and grey charge expert toÂ BillGuardÂ and is the author ofÂ 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knockâ€™em dead in thisÂ identity theft preventionÂ video.Â Disclosures.