The title of our blog, “Two ExFeds News Wrap, comments on crime, justice, and NCIS,” suggests we fill our lives with other things besides the most popular show on television. So during the summer months, we will comment on crime and justice, and other events we hope will interest our friends. If we have already critiqued an NCIS show that reruns on CBS, we will direct you to that title in our archives. Tonight’s episode is a rerun of the November 8, 2011 show titled “Engagement.” You can read our critique of the show in the November archive and see Mark Harmon’s son Sean Harmon, play the role of his father in a flashback.
Today, we’d like to warn you about a common scam. In my (Diane’s) legal practice I have helped clients make estate plans to transfer their assets. In so doing, I discovered some have fallen prey to monthly services they did not need or want. They did not even know they were being charged for these things!
Items appear as recurring monthly charges on their credit cards. For example, merchants we do business with are permitted to phone us even if we are on a national ‘do not call list’. Often when we or our elderly loved ones speak with these merchants or credit card providers, a representative will suggest something like “wallet theft protection”. Sometimes even if we do not want to purchase the service, the representative puts it on our credit card as a recurring monthly charge, no doubt receiving a sales commission for selling us the service.
The charges are usually listed near the bottom of the monthly statement so they look like taxes and other recurring fees. Please check your monthly statements and look for charges similar to the following that I detected on several elderly clients’ statements from nationally distributed credit cards:
Monthly charge:
$2.95 Wallet Theft Protection
$4.95 Identity Theft Protection
$15.95 Travel Club Membership (offering travel discounts)
$15.95 Home Improvement Club (offering home improvement discount deals)
One client had all four of these charges on his monthly bill and had been paying $39.80 per month for more than a year with no knowledge of these charges. Another was paying just for the theft protection to the tune of $7.90 per month without knowing it. If you discover such bogus charges, do as I did for my clients. Phone the provider. Protest the charges. Demand they be removed and refunded. If you or your loved ones have not used these services, the merchant or credit card provider should remove the charges, issuing refunds of some or all of the cost.
Be Blessed,
Diane and David