In today’s digital age, the convenience of electronic transactions has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, along with this convenience comes the risk of encountering false charges that can unexpectedly drain our finances.
Recently, a resident of British Columbia found themselves in an alarming predicament when they discovered they had been unknowingly footing the bill for someone else’s cell phone expenses for a staggering five years. This unfortunate incident underscores the importance of vigilant monitoring of our financial transactions to prevent such occurrences from slipping through the cracks.
How false charges occur
False charges can arise in numerous ways. For example, the bank or credit card company may make an error. You may sign up for a one-month trial subscription that automatically renews every month. A store may inadvertently charge you twice or fail to process a return. Or perhaps you’re a victim of fraud. Scamming methods include phishing emails and phone calls, accessing data over public Wi-Fi, acquiring names and card numbers through a company data breach, and scanning a card’s magnetic stripe with a skimming device.
Unless you make it a habit, it’s easy to let up on checking your purchases. You should monitor your bank account transactions and credit card statements at least monthly.
That includes statements for a credit card you only keep for emergencies. Some people prefer to check weekly if it’s onerous going through 30 days of transactions.
Note that sometimes a merchant’s name shows up that you don’t recognize because it’s the name of the merchant’s parent company. You can verify the associated purchase if you keep receipts, record transactions or use an app that tracks purchases. If you don’t have your receipts, generally, a call to your issuing credit card company will assist in finding this out.
An additional way to monitor transactions is to sign up for alerts, which can help identify fraud. Some financial institutions offer an extra layer of protection through transaction alerts, enabling consumers to receive real-time notifications of any activity on their accounts. Whether through text messages, emails, or dedicated mobile applications, these alerts serve as a proactive measure against potential fraud when a credit card or debit card transaction is made on your account. They empower individuals to take swift action in the event of unauthorized transactions.
One more detail to think about: if you or your parent or loved one begins to double pay bills or make purchases you can’t recall making frequently, it may be time to register a family member’s email and phone for texts so you may have a second pair of eyes looking out for fraud schemes, and monitoring monthly transactions.
In essence, the proactive monitoring of financial transactions serves as a crucial safeguard against the perils of false charges and fraudulent activity. By remaining vigilant and implementing sound practices, individuals can mitigate the risk of financial loss and safeguard their hard-earned assets in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.