Check monthly statements closely for false charges


May 11, 2008|By DAN THANH DANG

If you're only glancing casually at your monthly financial account statements, take a second look for a tiny, but significant scam showing up on credit and debit cards, warned the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks.

"We're seeing very small charges made to checking accounts and to debit and credit cards for amounts ranging from $3.95 to $16.95," said Craig Stone, the OCC deputy ombudsman for customer assistance. "They're very small charges we're seeing that you may not even notice. It's small enough that you may not question such a small charge."

"But we're finding that it's an emerging trend we're seeing from fraudsters," Stone said. "Instead of doing big hits, they're doing small charges. It might not seem like much, but if they're hitting 1,000 customers a day, that's a lot. We're seeing more and more of these cases."

Stone warned that the charges are usually associated with companies that have odd names. If you spot something curious, Stone advised calling your bank right away.

"I found two of those charges on my credit card for $1.95 each," Stone said. "I called my bank and they knew right away what I was talking about and took it off my account."

What's the bottom line? Review your statements carefully.

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