News Column

Voice of the Consumer: Closely monitor your credit and debit card statements

September 1, 2014

The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Sept. 01--Watch your credit and debit card charges like a hawk!

Thanks to Patricia of Colorado Springs for telling me about this. A bogus charge recently showed up on her credit card, and it's popping up on debit and credit card statements all over the country.

The transaction is from "HC," and some say they were charged $49.95 once. Others say they first spotted a minor charge and then the $49.95 charge. The minor charges, labeled as "international transaction fees," ranged from 40 cents to $1.

When I called HC Inc. at 866-992-6353, I got a customer service department in Miami. Two reps told me they handle the billing for many online businesses. When I asked for the names of a few of those companies, the reps refused to say more.

Most credit card users who investigated the charges learned they were being billed for a weight loss product they never heard of called raspberry ketone strength. When people tell the rep they never ordered the pills and want the charge deleted, they're asked if they want a free sample. Can you believe that?

While it's good to hear that so many people noticed the charge and immediately contested it, think about all the others who didn't notice it. This is a numbers game. Even if a small percentage of credit card users don't notice it, the company's banking pure profit. HC Inc. support reps told me they quickly handle contested transactions, but it can take one to two weeks. Some customers who notified their banks about this charge were issued new cards. That's why it's so important your bank is notified.

A customer of Chase Bank said a telephone rep told her that her number had been compromised while she was shopping online. The good news is that Chase offers zero-liability protection and she isn't responsible for the bogus charge. US Bank'sTeri Charest said its fraud department actively monitors customer cards and calls customers about suspicious transactions. They encourage customers to set up text and email alerts.

Frank Dorman with the Federal Trade Commission said debit card customers need to constantly monitor their activity because suspicious charges must be reported within 60 days. Diligently police all of your accounts. You can't afford not to take charge. Remember, crooks love easy marks.


Contact Betty at bsexton@ or call 578-0000, ext. 8214.


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Source: Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)

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