I think its safe to say that all credit card charges are unwanted, but today Im talking about so-called grey chargesthose out-of-the-blue credit card charges that sneak up on us and require our time, attention, persistence and aggravation to get rid of. A study by BillGuard shows the average dollar amount lost by grey charges is around $356.00per consumer annually.
Studies show 1 in 4 people to be victims of grey charges, and because 9 out of 10 people dont even check their billing statements or only skim them lookingfor large purchases, those grey charges end up eclipsing fraudas much as 95 percent grey charges to only 5 percent actual fraud!
While fraud certainly is and will always be a hot-button topic that has consumers scrambling to protect their credit cards (which, in reality, cant completely be protected; all you can do is pay attention to your statements), grey charges have been absent on consumers radars in part because the companies that profit from these charges dont want you to know about them. Fraud consists of 1 percent goods and services not delivered, 1 percent unauthorized charges and 3 percent other fraud, which often consists of hacking or unauthorized charges that occur after you hand your card over to a clerk.
Grey charges occur because 1 percent are billing errors, 2 percent are overcharges, 2 percent are duplicate charges, 4 percent are forgotten charges, 5 percent are hidden fees, 34 percent are just totally unrecognizable charges out of nowhere and a whopping 47 percent are unwanted subscriptions such as recurring memberships, zombie subscriptions, unwanted auto-renewals, negative option marketing, and free to paid offers.
Heres how to reduce your risk of grey charges and fraud:
Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert & advisor to BillGuard and is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knockem dead in this identity theft prevention video.Disclosures.
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